If you don’t love your home enough, do you even get to call it a home?
I live in an apartment with my boyfriend, two cats and a roommate. I work in an office for eight hours a day and come home to a messy two bedroom apartment with stained carpets and bare walls. The kitchen is always filthy, even when it’s freshly “cleaned.” There are always piles of clothes in my bedroom. There’s always fresh poop in the litter box.
I walk in the door and head for my bedroom. I strip naked and lose myself in the internet for a while. We usually go out for dinner, my boyfriend and I. Sometimes, he and I sit with the cats and watch basic cable. I don’t even see my roommate–she works from mid-afternoon ’til after I’ve gone to bed.
I’m only grateful for my little apartment on days when temperatures are soaring and I walk into the bliss of frigid central air, or on those days when pajama pants feel as luxurious as an evening gown. I don’t love it. Everything’s far too beige and I always leave the blinds shut because we’re on the ground level. I haven’t hung any art because I’m just too lazy, I guess. There’s so much shit in my bedroom, anyway, what’s the point in letting it climb the walls?
I once photographed it all, just to get a fresh perspective on the nooks and crannies, to perhaps capture the beauty that’s too routine for my eyes to detect. I deleted them all and crumpled into a defeated lump.
How can you claim a place to be home when you don’t love it, when you don’t feel entirely settled there?
I have good memories here. But they’re mostly memories of my developing relationship–and maybe that’s the rub. Maybe I can’t love my home because I’m putting so much of my energy into loving a person. Or maybe I just can’t commit to a place that feels temporary.
Step one? Take ownership. I am here, and so, this is home.
Step two: Refuse to excuse. Nothing can get in the way of having a home, of being proud of my home, of feeling welcome in my home.
Step three: Clean.
Step four: Act like I live here through cooking, hanging art and just… being.