When I moved here last September, I had a beautifully big room and very high hopes for my new home and city. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered 3 leaks in my new room and that my landlord was completely incompetent to say the least.
Locked down, and unable to escape the leaks, my thoughts turned inward. I crept into some of the darkest crevices of my mind, shocked at some of the old relics I had found in distant memories.
My counsellor bore witness to my emotional spirals in our early sessions and listened to all of my concerns through the screen. She spoke calm to my sadness and gave me guidance; “water is a symbol of change” – I’ve never had a counsellor who made comments like that before, but we went with it. And thank goodness we did. Here are a few things I took away from our sessions:
The leak wasn’t the issue. The issue was the continuous trampling of my boundaries by someone who was meant to be providing a service. Boundaries are a really important life lesson, and a tough one for me. I’ve read about boundaries being a bit disregarded when you’ve lost an important figure in your life. And that was certainly the case for me. I used to cling to anything no matter the cost. I used to do anything anyone expected of me if it meant a little bit of security in my life – a people pleaser. I was a people pleaser who was easily pushed over.
2. Old mechanisms don’t serve me anymore:
Similar to that above, routine behaviours don’t suit me anymore. People like me for me, not because of the thing things I do for them.
This was a tough one to learn too. I have discovered a technique though to combat it: If someone comes to me with something that is troubling them, I’d automatically try and take their burden for them and try and help them out. I like this quality in me, I like being caring and I like being kind – but not to the extent where my own day is compromised or my social battery is drained.
So now, if someone comes to me with an issue, before replying I count: “1…2…3…4…5” in my head. That 5 second gap allows me to assess whether I am in a position to help and whether it is my position to help, and how many spoons it will cost me. It prevents that routine line “I can do that for you”.
3. Don’t pin all of my hopes on to external factors like a brick house that has the potential to develop leaks.
Don’t pin your hopes onto a less than competent landlord. Don’t expect others to treat you with the same quality that you treat them until they show you that they have the capacity to do so. People are good – let them show you that. Bricks and cement don’t make a home, I do. I am always home.
So, as my counsellor told me many times, water is the symbol of change. Water forced me out of a place that I wanted to call home. Now I live in a place which is ideal for me – an apartment all to myself. I love it. It is small and cosy, it’s lined with strings of fairy lights and home to all of my plants. Living on your own in 2021, with prices as they are is a luxury. I don’t know how it happened but I feel like I hit the jackpot honestly.
Initially, I had planned to stay in the last house for 2 years. Had I not been in such a rainy city and had such a crappy landlord, I would probably not have made the leap outside of my comfort zone again to get here.
Life is changing all of the time. I’m going to have a family one day, my life will be filled with noise, laughter and chaos. I’ll look back on my twenties, thankful for the growth and thankful for the time I gave to myself in a little home to call my own (emphasis on the little).
Katie – written from her new apartment with a stable roof that works *hooorayyy*