Tales of a serial nomad
June 21, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: March 29, 2013 | 2:13 pm)
As I write, my girl and I are in the process of moving to awesome new digs in LoHi from a house I bought just more than four years ago in Lakewood. We’ll be there in a couple of days, and it’s one of the most thrilling transitions of my life. I’ve never been more ready to relocate, and that says a lot, because I’ve done my fair share. I’ve definitely been considered nomadic in my life, having lived in two countries, six states, 10 cities, and probably about 30 homes.
I pride myself on not having overly sentimental attachments to stuff and even to people, because I’ve picked up, packed up, and shipped out so many times. But going through all my stuff this past few weeks, I’ve really been emotionally impacted while sorting through the boxes hidden away in the backs of all my closets. Maybe because when I bought the place, I was still in my closet. The difference in who I was when I moved in and who I am now is highly defined. Going through my memories, a lot of my decisions and experiences really hit home: how I’ve stayed true to myself; how I’ve doubted myself and in turn, suffered and caused suffering; and how I came back to my truth and started to live it. As far as me coming to terms with my gayness, it all happened within those walls.
I’m not really the kind of person you’d think would buy a place at the age I did: so permanent, so stationary, so confined. My ex and I argued – and I mean argued with a capital “ARG” – for months about buying a place. He won. I was so not ready for numerous reasons to commit on that level, but he said, “This is what people do. They get older. They buy homes. They get married. They have families.”
Did I want all those things – marriage, family, a home? Absolutely. Do I still? Absolutely. He later told me that he did want to “settle me down” and that he was scared that he’d never be able to. Influencing me to buy the place was all part of that plan. I knew that was his motive at the time (even subconsciously), but like other things, I thought my natural tendencies were faulty, so after I was worn down, I caved and bought the place. I was so off-base that even though I didn’t want to, I had to buy it myself because I brought home the bacon. All in the quest for “normalcy,” I suppose. So now, I am left with the emotional aftermath of what happened in that structure and the structure itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the actual house. I’ve poured my sweat and tears and money into fixing it up. It’s beautiful, and has the most perfect city skyline view of Denver from Green Mountain and trees that flutter leaves on the flipside of every window, but do I have resentfulness that will always haunt its walls and rooms? I think so. It’s a permanent monument of how I turned my back on my instincts. (And the housing market isn’t supplying any comfort as of yet.)
Did that house bear witness to me from every angle and in every state of disrepair and celebration? Did it shelter me while I underwent my daunting turn into a homogay butterfly from an exhausted closeted caterpillar? Yes and yes. It was there for me and taught me responsibility, and for the first time, I couldn’t run away from what happened there.
Packing up or throwing out memory by memory, I realized something: I don’t actually think it’s my nature to be as flippant about leaving my homes behind as I thought. When we left our Missouri home – I was 10 – I said goodbye to everything in the house, doorknobs and all.
But since then, I’ve not felt any ties; I guess I grew a thick skin in that respect. That trait is definitely a result of nurture over nature, I realize. Sure, in some ways, it’s made me stronger and more acclimatable to change, but in other ways, it’s blurred the lines between running away and displays of boldness.
But now, I am living as myself. I’m not running away from my present. I am moving toward a future that I want that reflects my present — a place of love, warmth, joy, laughter, fun, and just the right amount of insanity to keep me sane.
I might be doing something I’m an expert on, but I’m doing it for unfamiliar reasons, and that’s just the kind of adventure I love.