Monday, October 14, 2013

The upsides and downsides to living by yourself


I'd originally given this one a different title, but things worked out differently. Same as how I was all set to blog through the residency and then that kind of went to pot amid the fifteen other things I was so certain I could get done while I was there.

But let's try and chuck up another blog post. It's late, but I've only just taken off my shoes. The scent of my socks should keep me up for a bit.

For context, I moved out of my family house in 2010/2011 to head to Newie for uni. Because I am king of figuring accommodation, I moved down with a friend from home and we took up residence in a tiny granny flat owned by a family friend of mine. Bec and I shared this space for two and a half years, and we juggled all the things that come from living with people who are not your family, things like remembering to clean up, or explain why you do something the way you do.

The space we had was a little tight for two, but we managed. It was nice, if only from my end because I'm messy and Bec was forgiving.

And then in June Bec moved out into another sharehouse closer to the uni and everyone from unichurch - this place is out in southwest Newcastle and it takes half an hour to get most places. I carry odd things in my car because there's rarely a chance to go home and come back if I've forgotten something silly like a coat or sunscreen.

In a way, it was kind of handy, because I'd already gone nocturnal for assessments, and my mess was everywhere, so I didn't feel the pressure of having to tidy up.

And then I had a breakup and a car accident, and things started to get quiet.

I think I may have stabilised in the months since; at least I'd like to think that. I mean, there's upsides and there's downsides to living by yourself.

Of course, the landlord and his son still live upstairs (it's an odd arrangement), so pants are still important on days I'm home. (Pants will always be important, for the record.)

But I can do things like listen to whatever music I want and not have to check and see if the housemate is okay with four hours of Anberlin.

I can eat fish. For a cat lover, Bec was never very keen on the seafood business.

There's no one to complain about the mess, or who has to daily navigate it. That's probably a problem of mine that has surfaced from having a large family with plenty of eccentricities. I'm just used to being messy. I don't like it, but I'm used to it, and that's how ants happen.

If I stuff up the laundrey, it's my fault.

In fact, if I stuff up anything, it's kind of my fault.

Except for yesterday evening, when I arrived home and the landlord informed me that the washing machine didn't have the overflow pipe put into the drainpipe properly (he's replacing something in our shared laundrey) and as a result the laundrey flooded. So did my kitchen. I store things on the floor.

I sighed, and checked how much water was everywhere. Floor needed washing, I guess.

But I digress.

Living by yourself can seem like a lot of fun, but it also equates to a lot of frozen food, because cooking for one is one of the sadder and useless things that happens in life. Much cheaper to cook fifteen meals at once and alternate between green and yellow curry for three weeks. Although, there's other things that stem out of that too.

I guess the only and biggest disadvantage to living by myself has been...being left with the inside of my head.

Insert picture from Photomedia portrait exercises.
Credit to Ben Van Gessel

It's a weird place to be, and in the passing months, it's really only gotten weirder. It's kind of what happens when you don't have anyone to tell you that that kind of thinking is a bit weird and maybe you need to go outside for a bit. There's talking to self, and cackling, and don't get me started on the arguments.

But that's kind of a problem too.

As the eldest, my problem is that I measure success by comparison. If I'm doing better than average, I'm okay. (Weird logic, again). There's a bucket more of things that that thought is attached to, but it kind of equates to a voice in my head that is me, and calls me things like 'uselessface' because I don't have a job or career or spouse and everyone surely must have it together because they have those things. I bet they can get everything on their 'To do' lists done too.

And don't tell me that that's not how it works, because this is how my head works.

It's not a great place to be.

It's being mad at yourself for being so poorly disciplined, and being late for everything because of that lax in discipline, but at the same time being unable to do anything to make that better.

It's trying desperately to not get depressed over having social plans flop because it was your one shot at social interaction that week and everyone else must have just had better things to do.

It's not being able to write a blog post without chucking in self depreciating stuff and then trying to write it off as a joke.


It's over-analysing everything other people do and say because you've gotten used to not interacting with anybody and can't remember how people work.

"Is that guy trying to have a crack at me? I don't know. Don't be silly Brooke-akfjheprighptisuhprkh?"

It's going home to an empty house when you grew up in a home with five other people who were all noisier and less weird than you.

Except that it's not really an empty house. It's a house with very little to distract from that voice that reminds me of how hard I fail at life.

I guess living by yourself would probably be not as problematic if you were not me. Or didn't have to live inside my head.


On a brighter note, semester has started up again. I'm hoping it'll be too busy for me to go crazy. Crazier. After that, Brooke Gets A Job and Will Move Into A Sharehouse and Hopefully Will Be Able To Readjust To Normal People and Possibly Society As Well.

Either that or I'll go bush and turn into a feral wild girl with flat feet and hair that gets snagged on everything. Sounds grand.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Brooke I LOVE your blog. Is that what this is called...remember I am 53 nearly 54 and Twitter was what birds did and water was drunk from a hose and blackboards were the teachers greatest tool (I came after individual slate boards!!). I LOVE your insights. I LOVE your individuality. I just stopped to see how many words you were allowed in this type of communication...but it says epic!!! Woohoo! (That phrase wasn't around either!) Having said that I can see the struggle and I think its true of anyone who is on their own too much. Using others like a mirror to reflect back your thinking or disagree ...or agree...helps authenticate us eh? I do see the good side too of being messy without judgement or patience required. I have had about 10 random things..books, papers, letters, saline solution, magazine beside my bed for 3 weeks...on the floor! So easy...IN THEORY to pick it up but I dont even SEE it!!! (Unless someone is coming through the house to see what a Dugout is like. Even then I have learned to steel myself against worrying it with lines like, "They are lucky to be getting a guided tour" or " I won't see them again" (tourists...sometimes from Russia!!) ; or "my identity is not based around the tidiness of my home". I have mastered them all. I can share some if you ever need them. Sandy Holmes made me a great cottage craft sign that says A Messy Home is a Happy Home. This one is Delirious!! I often show this to my visitors first up to set the scene!! OR "Creative women live in chaos is another one." Maybe your head is more problematic. I am not sure. It certainly seems to me to be more entertaining than a good way...just so you understand i am not having a go at you! haha. Before I got to the turning into the wild feral girl I had decided I would invite you to come out here!! haha. Live in a hole with everyone else in Australia thats a bit different. Seriously with 40 different Nationalities and old eastern european Miners from the 60s and others who have come to escape life its a lovely mixed bag. Everyone is weird out here. Don't tell them I said that. BUT I mean it in the nicest possible way. Who wants normal? Who wants clones? Please keep blogging...or whatever it is this is!!!!


Come on, leave your epic wordage in the space below. I dare you.