Monday, March 03, 2008

Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.

I am terrified of getting lost.

Not lost in a physical sense, because I've spent a great deal of my life getting very specific directions, and still turning down the wrong street, hopping on the wrong bus, and relying on strangers, turning the map in the direction that I'm facing, and still choosing the wrong way when I get to the landmark that's supposed to definitively tell me where I'm going.

In other words, I've spent a lot of time not quite knowing where I am but confident I'll end up where I'm supposed to be.

In terms of travel, I've always wound up where I set out to.

But right now, I'm firmly embedded in one of those life milestones. And I'm so scared of losing me.

And I'm having a great time - I'm with this person who keeps me endlessly entertained, who I can spend ridiculous amounts of time with and still feel like we don't have enough time. But still.

I've worked hard to craft this life for myself, and it's a life I like. I can take care of myself; I can pay for all my own stuff. I am fine alone. I'm just happier not alone. Or, more specifically, I'm happier with Nick. But it's really, really important to me to be my own, whole, entire person.

What if I lose that?

I own a tiny little place in DC - tiny but in a fantastic location. Exactly where I wanted to be. I can walk to work; I can walk to everything. Most of my friends live blocks away. Parking in my neighborhood sucks - in part because a lot of people drive to go out there. It's a fun area to be.

But the minute nature of the place means that it's only big enough for me. Or maybe me and a petite little man. With only three outfits and one pair of shoes. And no stuff.

In other words, really, just me.

So we spent all our time at Nick's, out in Virginia. Because we determined early that there's simply not enough room for us to actually sleep at my place. And the not sleeping? Doesn't work for either of us.

His place is lovely, really and truly. It's beautifully done and very comfortable. It's big enough for both of us. And man, is it tidy.

And I? Am not. So I spend a lot of time trying not to leave things strewn about, as is my wont. This is a good thing; I would like to be less of a strewer-abouter. But I put a lot of effort into not bringing much over, because there isn't space for it. And I worry I'll end up strewing or piling, for lack of anywhere to stick stuff. And he will get annoyed.

He hasn't actually gotten annoyed. But I don't want to put a bunch of reasons not to like me out there.

What we are talking about is me moving in there once we get married. We'll save money, and then buy a new place in DC. Part of this is location - I want to be in DC; I want to be able to walk to things, and he likes the idea of a city life - he just hasn't sought it out before.

When we leave the city after work, we go home, and that is that. No last minute running down the block to meet up with friends, no strolling down to Whole Foods for groceries. There are a couple places to walk to, and we do, but none of my friends are nearby.

It's not just about being in the city or not. It's also that, while his place is big enough for both of us, it's only big enough as long as I put all my stuff in storage. Or he puts some and I put some. And still, a lot will go in storage.

But space is not all of it.

His place is his. It's very him. Because, like me, he's crafted a whole life for himself. And his place is great, but it's not me. And we do things his way, not because he pushes - not at all, but because it's his place, and this is how he does things. It would be the same at my place - you know your space, you have your routine, and the way you do things is the way you do things.

And so I currently feel like I've walked into someone else's life. And it's not that it's not where I want to be. He is exactly where I want to be. It's just that I haven't figured out how to also retain all the me of me.

You know?


  1. I can so relate, but from the opposite perspective. When we got married, Jason moved into my house, with my art and my furniture and my paint color choices on the walls, and he liked the house fine, but it wasn't his. He felt so much more comfortable when we bought a place together and decorated it together.

    I know the market isn't great for this right now, but I would give serious thought to giving up your respective single pads and getting a place that's both of yours. You don't want to live someplace if it doesn't truly feel like it's your home, too.

  2. I think that's the hardest part of relationships, negotiating how you can each be a You while still being an Us; and a lot of people can't figure it out.

    I think the only way to truly feel what you want to feel will be to get a place together, or to do some serious rearranging and redecorating at his place. But getting a new place will be best, because then you'll both be weighing in on decisions about "space" and "stuff." This also relates back to everything I was saying about registering, about having things that are new and specifically meant to symbolize and start your new life together.

  3. Haha -- I get you on the getting lost thing, direction-wise. If going straight is the right way, believe me, I'm taking a left somewhere...

    Apartment-wise, I always wonder what will happen if I ever move in with someone. I live in a one bedroom, that is not tiny, but it's not big either. And though it would easily fit a couple, I have a LOT of STUFF. Way too many clothes. Way too many books. Way too many movies. Way too many pictures. Way too much stuff. I can barely fit my crap there, there's no way I can fit someone else's crap there as well.

    That said, considering I'm single and been single for ages, it doesn't seem like I'll be dealing with that problem anytime soon...

  4. You know, I got married so young.(too young?) I can sort of relate to what it must be like to put two lives together as you're going to have to do, but the word that comes to mind is compromise.

    That's got to be key.

  5. I can totally relate to the "stuff" thing. Refer to "cellophane belly button". It is hard to move into someone elses space and even harder to have someone move into yours. Yes there will be adjustments as far as decorating but if you two tackle one room at a time with a blend of both of your things, you won't feel like what you put in storage is all that important. Just a suggestion:)

  6. Wendy - Thanks - that's great advice. It makes so much sense, honestly. That's where we are heading, but I wonder if we could do it in a shorter time frame - this year rather than next.

    Nicole - Yah. The Me and Us hasn't yet settled. Thanks so much for the suggestions on registering. You are so right about figuring out what we want for us together.

    Beach Bum - I spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to figure out where I am! I don't have a lot of stuff, actually, but I do have enough in a tiny place - so there's no extra room!

    DCup - I dunno about too young, but you were definitely young. There's a lot to be said for marrying young and growing together - which you've done. As for compromise - I'm confident we can.

    DD'sD - Yah, I think that's the approach we will have to take, whether starting at his house or a new one. Our stuff doesn't blend - envision Indian tribal art vs. lithographs of old buildings and bucolic scenes with ducks and hunters. So we will HAVE to go room by room. Seriously.

  7. It's all about compromise, I agree, but if you two are really right for each other, finding the You and Me in the Us shouldn't be too bad. If you've gotta move to his place first, find a way to make some space of it yours. Or add little LG touches all over. It takes time and compromise and lots of tugging, but it'll work out!

    In the meantime, don't sweat the feeling of misplacing yourself. You're becoming part of something bigger, but You will still be there in the long run, just with more support.

  8. Hmmm, I seem to remember asking 3 months back what the convention was about meeting someone and deciding who moves into which place...

    And I was told 'oh no, its only a first date, don't be ridiculous...'

    Sh'yeah - who's the psychic now?

  9. Sarah - Thanks - that's very sage advice! Neither of us are resistant to change or compromise, and we both do want to be part of something bigger!

    GaryQ - Ha ha ha! You called it! You are absolutely right!

  10. In situations like this I like to remind myself to read the Shel Silverstein book the Missing Piece Have you read that? It's one of my favorite books. I love the idea of rolling along side, not fitting into, someone else.

    You are a very strong and independent person, and while you are becoming part of a "we", the parts that are distinctly YOU will not, I assure you, fade away. You've been YOU for too long!

    And homes become homes because you and he will be living in them. I wouldn't rush to find a place just so it's 'yours'. Maybe you could even keep both for a while, until you find your perfect spot together, and have a city place for weekend fun, and a country (VA) home...? Perhaps too decadent, but it might feel better to both of you?


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