Boxes to boxes, dust to dust

IMO there are a few essential ticks that make for a grown up living scenario and they are thus: 

1. Some sort of cheese.

2. Tea and coffee (and wine)

3. Survival 

So I set out on an adventure to conquer the milestones of adulthood all on my own. 

The first step was securing myself some walls and a roof, a far harder step than I was anticipating. The biggest challenge by far that I found was finding somewhere suitable for my dog.  

Where in the past I swiped through catalogue-esque shots of stylish and urban apartments, hoping to live out my Anthropologie Home goals, I now found myself typing in words like "secure", "unfurnished" and "garden" into the search bar. That in itself actually made me feel somewhat mature and I felt the distant filling of the sims style "loading bar" ticking its way towards old age and death. Nevertheless it is now a dog's life and therefore a garden that I sought. 

I'd like to say that having a deadline was almost a blessing and a curse, but it definitely felt like a horrible factor to begin with. While somewhat exciting, it was an added pressure that soon left me snappy and grumpy - unable to feel any patience for things I once held dear.  

I couldn't spend time with friends, I couldn't cook, I couldn't bring myself to check my bank balance and, most shockingly to me, I couldn't write. My blog lay abandoned for a month, unloved and gathering dust. I'd often read it and wonder whether I would ever be able to feel that rush of an idea again, or whether it would fade into the shadows - yet another lifelong dream, now fallen victim to my anxiety. 

The same deadline pressure caused me to be swept up in the madness and apply for a property that was at best ill fitting and at worst a disaster waiting to happen. There was a garden, but it wasn't secure and the landlord was reluctant to let me put up temporary fencing to secure it - quite frankly he was mostly a dick. The house itself was in a state of disrepair and in desperate need of a good scrub. It had the air of a student house about it; hardly the grown up retreat that I was looking for. 

Unable to feel any kind of connection with my new house, I started focusing on the silly materialistic things that didnt really matter; the quick retail fixes that I grew so accustomed to relying on after Mum died. Here I was, in a time loop that started with me excitedly filling my Amazon basket and ended with me depressed and guilt ridden and emptying it about 15 minutes later. Some purchases inevitably made it through the checkout before my sanity kicked in, which is why I am the proud owner of 3 new rugs and 4 plates too small to hold a biscuit (always read the measurements!). I had myself totally convinced that I was going to turn the shed into a hipster cinema/homage to the Hogwarts Great Hall complete with floating candles and glow in the dark stars. I didn't stop to let myself think about the potential impracticalities that living in this house could bring - how could I? - I would have had to admit to myself that the only thing between me and homelessness was a house that was totally unfit for my needs. So I plodded on, saving pins on Pinterest and videos on YouTube: how to make a cosy home, how to fix a temporary fence, how to improve your dog's recall, how to add more hygge, how to set up a projector, how to paint your ceiling to look like the sky at night. 

Some kind twist of fate meant that the house application fell through. I was jolted back into reality, I had two weeks to find a house.  

I made the odd decision to only tell one or two select people about this development. Knowing how much my mind can hurl itself from one disaster to another, without so much as a butterfly flapping its wings, I decided to tell only the calmest and least assuming of my friends. A well meaning but stressful question at this point could have launched me into total chaos.  

On the very same day as house 1 plummeted beyond my reach, another house reared its head. It was in an area I hadn't considered, but it had a secure garden, so I arranged a viewing - and it went well. So well, in fact, that I am currently sat in that very house,  and waiting for the second half of my bath to run (more on that later). 

The night my application was accepted to the house, I picked up my laptop. Tentatively I clicked into a folder that I have barely opened since before I met my abusive ex boyfriend. I scrolled down a familiar and nostalgic timeline before settling myself somewhere deep in an incomplete chapter and I came alive. My fingers danced the keyboard that night, smoothly and instinctively - always one step ahead of the word I was thinking. The words waterfalled from my mind and into the digital pages. Page after page after page after page. And another one.  

Click. Save. 2,000 words down. 2,000 words that I didn't even know I had in me, now nestled safely in the comfort of my novel. He had been rejected for a while, along with many of my other loves. He was resurrected that night, and so was I.  

I breathed deep meaningful gulps and I felt as though my soul had awoken. For no matter how kind or cruel a hand is laid on me, nothing can ever truly touch me in the way that words can. And nothing has ever truly freed me in the way that writing has.  

An army of boxes has accompanied me for weeks. Empty, full and empty again, they have had me totally surrounded. In more frivolous circumstances, with a freely flowing amount of time and creativity, I probably would have built a fort at some point. 

Surprisingly determined, I packed. I packed and I taped and I even wrote "spare room" and "kitchen" and "fragile" and "the hairdryer is in this one" on the cardboard stuff homes.  

Eagerly awaiting the arrival of my BFF and dad, I settled into bed with a Chinese Takeaway on what should have been my last night alone in my old room. Just as I was about to break open the Chow Mein, I heard a rustling noise. 

"Is there a mouse in my room?" I thought in a panic... But it was far too quiet to be a mouse. It sounded fluttery, not totally unlike the sound of a moth, trapped in a cardboard box. Reluctantly I pushed my food to one side and stood up. 

I didn't even need to look in its direction to see it. In the corner of my eye, on the very edge of my vision, sat a horse sized spider. *clickclickclickclickclick* the horrible noise resumed. I called my friend.  

When I say called, I mean literally that. Unblinking, I dialled his number and asked for help, not daring to break eye contact with the monster on my bed. He emerged (my friend, not the spider) and I was faced with another problem. He was quite apparently too stoned to make a success of this challenge. "He's buggered off!" He updated me, within moments of my leaving the room. 

Tentatively, I pushed open the door and reentered my (now cursed) bedroom, adrenaline coursing through my veins in a way that only the arachnophobes among you can imagine. I scanned the ceiling and skirting boards for a clue to Aragog's whereabouts. No such luck. Leaving my room, I resigned myself to the idea of sleeping on the sofa and called my best friend Sarah. 

Sarah and I have known each other since the very start of secondary school and she is all too familiar with my second biggest fear (those of you who listened to my podcast will know that she was once thrown off a cliff due to my fear of spiders). "You'll have to sleep on the sofa." She confirmed. Reluctantly I roped my housemate into getting my phone charger and something to sleep in and I sat on the sofa and on the edge.   

At some point, between a forced breath and a thumping heartbeat, I realised that I was in for a night of no rest at all. Logically I knew that the spider wouldn't harm me, but there was also no way that I could sleep knowing he might creep up on me. I find it difficult to settle at the best of times and this was NOT THE BEST OF TIMES.

An unexpected solution to all my problems came in the form of an offer of shelter from my friend and fellow spider avoider, Billie. I packed my things (two things - my charger and my something to sleep in) and hopped in an über. I arrived to a lovely welcome: a warm cup of tea, a soft blanket and a fluffy and excited pug. 

The next day, Sarah and I found and caught Aragog and took him to the forbidden forest (Sarah was Hagrid, I was very much Fang) and got into my bed, safe in the knowledge that we had taken him too far for him to find his way back to my room any time soon. And, with him at a reasonably (although not quite far enough for my liking) safe distance, we packed the last of my things into the last of my boxes and I slept easy, fantasising about all the different cheeses I was going to fill my fridge with. 

 

TO BE CONTINUED

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Anneli Roberts1 Comment