Moving evokes all sorts of emotions. Just the word alone, evokes facial distortions, gasps and the common and passionately stated phrase “I hate moving”. Yet, we do it over and over and over again.
At least I have. And for many different reasons: jobs, schools, marriage, divorce and family to name a few.
I have lived in 12 states, 3 countries, 33 cities. I have moved over 33 times.
In the past, I was kind of proud of this. It meant I have seen and experienced a lot. I didn’t want to be the person who lived in the same town my entire life, in the same house, same blah blah blah.
Truth be told, I am grateful for all of my experiences. But this last move was pretty hard.
By the time I had my son at the age of 16, I was so used to moving, I didn’t think twice about making our way to a safer area, or closer to our family, or for a better job. An opportunity came up, I took it - and my little son with me.
As he grew up, he resented moving so much. Loss of stability, familiarity and friends were hard on him. Of course, my intention was to better our lives, but now understand how this was hard on him as a kid. When I talked with him about this and apologized for not being more tuned into how stressful this was for him, the grown and gracious man that he is now, said “it’s okay mom, I’m glad for it now. I can say I’ve seen and experienced a lot.”
Whew. I thought for sure I’d have a hefty therapy bill for all those moves.
In January, my boyfriend texted me that the Landlords decided to sell the townhome we were renting. He had been there for 13 years, while I had been there for 3 years. Enough time to get attached to the spacious, quiet and beautiful space we occupied. We had 60 days to move.
Immediately, I thought great! Something new. Something fresh. An Adventure. I found a few great places on Craigslist and Zillow, but nothing felt quite right. Small places, big rents. Two places I liked fell through. That was a hard blow. Disappointment set in, along with overwhelm and a surprise wallop of grief.
I had been wanting to move into my own place for awhile. I’ve had this intuition that having my own place is important as I move into the next chapter of my life, so I didn’t expect finding a place to be challenging, or even that emotional. Yet, it hit me like a brick on the side of the heart. For the first time in my life I found myself saying “I HATE moving.”
This move sucked. For a lot of reasons, it was just hard.
The most surprising thing was that grief.
I grieved for how much time and energy dealing with Lyme disease took from me financially and energetically, over the years. I grieved the loss of my home in the divorce. I grieved not having my mom around. I grieved not being needed by my son or other family members to help solve their issues. I grieved not being more financially sovereign.
I started comparing my financial successes to my friends success - and yah, I wallowed in that dark spot for a bit.
The townhome we enjoyed had a ginormous storage basement that I could literally walk around in. I’m 5’2” and the space was about 5 feet 3 inches in height. When I first moved here, half the space was storage, and the other half I set up as a meditation area with two couches, a rug and a few tables. to put my water glass on, or my laptop. It was my recharging station. I would hang out in there every night and journal, meditate and sometimes sneak in a nap.
Eventually the space filled up with extra boxes, and more of our daily stuff that we no longer needed or used.
By the time our move came around, it was full of stuff that would need to be discarded.
While I could easily walk around in this space, a few sprinkler heads stuck out and so yes, you can imagine, that several points in the move, I stood up forgetting about the sprinkler head, and BAM, the top of my head smashing into the wire frame around the sprinkler.
You know when you’re already kind of emotional, and you stub your toe on the head of you your bed, or your head on an open cabinet door? Floodgates open! Yep, that happened several times. The messy, snotty, sobbing kind of emotional floodgates that had me sitting on the floor of the dark cold storage sobbing like a sad, pissed off toddler surrounded by spiders, boxes and more clutter than I ever thought I could possibly own.
Dang it!, I thought. I didn’t want this move to be like this. I was happy, excited, on the road again. “I’m not a blubbering wimp”, I exclaimed!
Each head bash brought up all sorts of goodies I wasn’t aware of because believe me, I’ve done my work. It turns out, when we experience a small trauma like hitting our head on something, it can trigger other traumas and related emotions you didn’t know you were still hanging on to. I cried for all the loss and change of the past 12 years. All the gut punches to my spirit. All the shitty thoughts in my head that burst out like a geyser. All the mistakes I made and all the ways I’d made a fool of myself, crappy decisions, and oh my god, for the times I didn’t follow my intuition and if I had I wouldn’t be in this mess.
The grief I discovered was also for things I haven’t yet done in my life like travel more, schooling, dance classes, performing barefoot on stage, learning an instrument, speaking to larger audiences, painting more. I’ve done all of this, but have barely scratched the surface with how deep and far I want to go and some how a few bangs to the head knocked all of this loose.
I’m not suggesting banging your head on things to realize what you really want, but in this case, it worked. I got some much needed perspective in those sobby moments, and from there on out, I found my motivation to get back in the moving game and open up to whatever’s next.
I gave away at least 15 bags of stuff, consisting of clothes, linens, fabric, art supplies, shoes, jewelry and gave a way some big stuff like, couches and kitchen appliances. The only thing I regret is letting my couches go, but ah, who knows, maybe the next place I’m in, I’ll want a different color anyway, or maybe I’ll be in a yurt and won’t need a couch. It’s anyone’s guess at the moment.
All in all, we donated 4 truck loads of stuff to the Salvation Army. Imagine all the energy tied up in that stuff?!
So, I’m free now. Free of the way things were. Free of the routine that had me a little stuck. Free of the daily physical reminders of loss and how different things are now. Free of the fear of moving, well because, I moved. It’s done. All packed up and in storage.
Like most moves, I had great intentions for a speedy easy move. I even hired movers. The smartest thing I’ve ever done (related to moving). But as I watched my crap fill up a 26” truck I started to panic. “How the hell did I accumulate so much? I donated/threw out so much, how was this possible"?”
My heart raced watching the movers load the truck, and I had deep desire to just donate everything! I stopped short as I will need some of it when I move into my new place, but just for a minute that idea felt really reasonable and good.
I watched the movers pack my 10x15 storage and saw it wasn’t going to be enough space for everything. I didn’t realize then, they had just packed my storage unit poorly, so I got another 5x10 unit for the overflow. 5 hours and 2 storage units later, I was out of my old place and literally stepped into the unknown.
Another juicy part of my grief about moving is that I have had a deep need for my own space for a long time and have yet to honor that. It’s not an easy decision to make. I have waffled in doubt and back to clarity and back to doubt. This nagging sense that I need to be with just me for awhile, well I realize it’s real and needs my attention. When I found out that we had to move, I knew this was the moment to step in and finally honor my deep inner wisdom, and journey to myself for a little while. Not totally alone, just in my own space.
I have been taking care of others from the time I had my son at 16 to now, and holy cow, do I need a freakin’ break. I want to know what it’s like to wake up to just me. I want to know what I want to eat for breakfast, or if I even want to eat anything at all for breakfast - or the whole day. I want to know what it feels like to be my own person, in my own space. What kind of decor do I want? What does my place smell like? feel like?
These thoughts have taken up so much energetic real estate, so while moving kind of sucked, it really was and is an answered prayer to find out about me.
I have never lived alone. I have never been my own purpose.
And well, I’m about to find out what this really means.
Now that all the stuff is in storage and I have a few weeks of respite, thanks to a dear friend, I have decided to journal, sleep, recluse and surrender to not knowing what’s next.
I understand why people stay in their same towns and same homes. it’s safe, comfortable and familiar. For me this would sure be my death in too many ways.
In the past, I moved as a reaction to my life circumstances. This time, while I didn’t choose to move out of my townhouse, I will choose with intention, love and an open heart, where I go next.
Stagnancy sucks more than moving.
So I surrender to the mystery of whatever is around the bend.
©2019 Vanessa Elle Wilde. All Rights Reserved.