I’ve always been blessed with large living spaces – at least relative to where I’m at in my life and where I live. In Toronto I had an apartment of over 1200sq feet which I shared with my roommate and her giant Husky/German Shepard dog Kessel.
When I moved to Halifax I lived in a 2 story house that was at least 1600sq feet. I spent 4 years of my life living in large spaces that I always felt the need to fill out and personalize and have things for these areas. Which is fine because I like things – I wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist or a maximalist. I like spaces that are filled well and with purpose. I find empty space almost eerie, but cluttered space claustrophobic.
Then I moved into a bachelor apartment. I went from at least 5 rooms to live in to one giant one – two if you count the bathroom. I moved because of necessity for my resources and emotional health. Before I would have never considered it – I always felt that having separate rooms was entirely necessary. I didn’t know how I would function in a “confined” living space. Turns out I’m the most functional.
Last night I went to a live recording of Turn Me On and felt that wonderful spark I remember from my own podcast Impractical Women’s Studies – a spark that signifies liberation, curiosity, and empowerment.
When people say they’re going to be talking about sex its simultaneously exciting and stressful. What will you learn? What are you hiding? What conversations are you still uncomfortable having? What are you scared about other people knowing?
They started the evening off with some audience games, that included having to stand if you answered yes to a question and stay standing until your next no. There were moments that I felt relieved (like when they asked if you like butt stuff, and I gladly sat) and others that made me blush, like when they asked if you spit or swallow. I was sitting next to my boyfriend and our friends, so while we say we are working towards a sex-positive culture I had to question what that really meant for me, including the question “Does sex positive mean I want everyone to know what I like in bed?”.
I’ve realized my biggest insecurity is how I make other people feel. I didn’t want to embarrass my boyfriend, but I wanted to participate in the game. I didn’t want our friends to feel uncomfortable knowing that I prefer to swallow (which you all do now, too… sorry). Sure, I have my own embarrassments. I think for the most part any shame I have comes from how I think it will be perceived more than shame around those “kinks”.
I started thinking about what it is that I find sexy. What do I like doing? When do I feel my best? What fucking turns me on?!
I wore red fishnets under my outfit last night. Partly because I wanted the little peep of them at my ankle for my outfit. But also because it was fun to be secretly dressed up under my sporty-black-kind-of-generic outfit. I like the way I look in them, the way they make me feel, my boyfriends reaction. It is personal empowerment – empowerment that doesn’t ask other people to validate me to feel sexy. In fact, I realized the less people that knew the better I felt. I like being able to choose when I’m seen and how.
To contrast the spice of lingerie, I also love being cozy. I feel most in my element at home in a big sweater and panties. I am the typical girl-next-door and I think thats how I’ve always idealized myself sexually as well. Perceived innocence. The knowing things you’re not supposed to know. The beauty of the mundanities of life.
These themes inspired a fun self-portrait session. I threw on some Blink-182 and danced in my clothes from yesterday as soon as I got home. No showering, no changing my underwear, no props. Just dancing and having fun and remembering that at the end of the day I want to embrace my sexuality for me. I get to choose who I share it with and why. I get to feel powerful in my own skin, clothes, and relationship.
There have been times when my sexuality was something I wasn’t empowered by. I felt crushed under its weight and like it was something I could use to gain power. It was a tool in manipulation and being manipulated. I believed for a long time that my body was the most profitable thing I had to offer and totally disconnected myself emotionally from my sexuality and sexual experiences. Now I thrive on the emotional link, on feeling sexy for myself and knowing that I don’t need anyone else to validate that or put a price on it.
While this only skims the surface of sexuality and my experiences and learning with it, it is still these moments and instances that make me feel powerful and in control. That remind me that I am able to own myself and my body and that power only belongs to those I choose to give it to. My commitment to myself is to choose empowerment.
I’ve wanted to live on my own pretty much always. My mom used to bug me as a teenager, with her own rituals and way of having her house. I felt confined to one room and always felt stifled – like I was trying to fit into a place that was half the size of me.
As an “adult” I was obsessive about my apartments with roommates that drove me crazy because of how towels were folded or like I was a bad person because I hated doing my dishes in a tiny sink. I am far from perfect to live with, but in that I also have high expectations for living. What do you mean you don’t wipe down your baseboards once a month?!
For the longest time – since I was a child – I have always lived in quirky homes. Old places with nooks and character and weird boxes of clothes left in portions of closets that were beyond forgotten. Places that induced weird dreams and feelings of being watched late at night by things I couldn’t see. I got good at curating these spaces and finding my own spin on them.
Living with people is hard. It’s even harder when you like the person because you want to share – for there to be less rules and more relationship. When you live with someone you have to be cognizant of their energy as well as yours. You have to create boundaries with empathy and find compromise and be able to pick up the slack sometimes but also not take shit when another is slacking.
After 4 years of paying rent with other people, of having higher standards and bought’s of irritation and disappointment and confusion over who I am in the eyes of others, I made a move. The move.
I’m not very good at endings. Usually because I will hold out until it is too bitter to keep with; because I want to believe the best in others and the worst in myself before I come to a clear place of assessment. Because sometimes I can’t tell where my anxiety is coming from or if it’s warranted. After a conversation with my roommate saying I would be happier on my own, I signed a lease 3 days later. It was like the universe was waiting patiently to support me in a dream I’ve had since I was a kid – like it knew I had come to the last spring in a marathon of patience. Like the world wanted me to flourish and knew the exact plot to plant me in.
So here I am. Living in a modern studio – so much of a difference from my sprawling, awkward, and antique abodes of the past. It has built in storage everywhere (that my organizationally inclined side adores), all the appliances to make life easy, and feels like the bedroom I always dreamt of as a child. There is something so relaxing about having everything in one room. It’s accessible, efficient, and easy to decorate.
I have only been here a few days, and only spent my first night here last night.Even though it has been a short time, the change is palpable. I can taste how relaxed I feel. I enjoyed one of the best sleeps I’ve had in months. I woke up early and lit candles, made coffee, listened to classical music. I called my mom and had breakfast and even did my dishes after. I had time to shower and to get dressed in an outfit I love and walk to work early. Every single moment feels like a ritual of love and dedication to myself – like I’m was looking out for my best interest. Like I’m not planning my life anymore but somehow had gotten to a place where my life is just flowing in a way that I know it should have been all along – that I know I was getting to all along.
My first real evening here I made nachos for my boyfriend and I. We listened to music and laid on the bed talking before he made his short journey home. I had a bath and lit candles. I meditated and enjoyed tea and went to bed when I was tired. These are mundane details of my life but I think the point is that there was so much meaning behind them. These were small moments where I felt at home in the life I’ve created. It’s humbling to see the life I’ve dreamed of; wished for; written about materialize around me.
I would never take back my experiences living with other people. I have so many fond memories. There was so much more laughter than there ever was frustration. The lessons I learned are invaluable not only in living solo, but in life in general. I worked more on my flaws than I would have alone because I was accountable for a shared space and shared energy. I discovered boundaries that are essential for my well-being. I was given opportunity to learn and strengthen myself everyday. And now I have the chance to do that in a new way.
If you want to see more of my new digs and keep updated on the goings-on of my world you can follow me on instagram @edgarallanfoe
Don’t forget to pre-order my new book! January 31st is the last day to get it for 15$! Check it out.