Throughout my entire life since adolescence, I always felt just the slightest bit older than I really was. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I was more advanced than my peers around me. Everyone I met would always be shocked to discover my real age (this is still true – I’m wondering when it ends). I developed quicker than my friends in elementary school, had my first kiss before all of my friends, had a job as soon as I turned 15 and so on. I always got along better with people just a few years older than me. I knew I was going to be the child to be “out of the house” as soon as I turned 18. Even when I was prepubescent we knew I’d be independent enough to live on my own as soon as I could.
I turned 18 during summer time and was out on my own before autumn. I quickly learned what real life was like while all of my aquiantences from high school were moving into their dorms with their bedding that mommy bought for them, their tuition that daddy signed a loan for and their heads way too far up their asses. If you felt guilty reading that, you probably should. And for those of you who think moving into an apartment in the city is everything it’s cracked up to be on instagram, I’m about to show you all the behind the social-media-scenes. It’s not cute plants growing in your windowsills and having modern chic decor on your white walls and cooking dinner pantless with your significant other. It’s having dead, dried or fake plants because you’re not home enough to water them, you’re busy working for your rent check. It’s not being able to afford little to half of the decor that suits your style. And it’s having one or two decent meals a month with someone special and wearing pants because your roommate’s home, and having ramen in a cup or delivery pizza every other night.
I moved in with my best friend/coworker who had also just turned 18 and like me, was more mature than her times. We met when we started working together in March, and instantly became inseparable, despite being coworkers and crossing those professional boundaries (big mistake on our part, we’ve since then learned). We scored this adorable little apartment on the top floor of a brick building behind Federal Hill (the little Italy of Providence), which was perfectly close to the mall where we worked and in the heart of the city. We thought it seemed pretty managable. It was just before the Holidays during which we’d be making extra bonus in our paychecks and working a whole bunch of hours. While we definitely knew it’d be a struggle, we thought we pretty much had it all together. Spoiler alert: we were really fucking terribly wrong. We made it work for the first few months, and then shit started getting out of hand. We were late on bills, past due of rent, had our phone services shut off every now and then, and would have to make toast for most meals of the day. This put us both in a really depressing state of living. We weren’t able to have fun, do the things we wanted to do or see the things we wanted to see. We were living less than paycheck to paycheck, working our asses off and waking up to do it all over again the next day.
Would it really be a mistake if your parents hadn’t warned you about it prior to making the mistake? Of course my parents, especially my dad, tried to logically talk me out of it. But I was an 18 year old stubborn ass fixed fire sign. It was not going to happen. I needed to make this decision on my own, fuck my life up for myself and fix it all by myself too.
Don’t get me wrong – it was amazing being on my own. Most of the typical things that people look forward to when moving out weren’t necessarily new to me – if that makes any sense. Before I moved out, I was pretty much independent and took care of myself majority of the time. Mom was there for support if and when I needed her. But really, I had company whenever I wanted, woke up and went to bed on my own agenda, fixed my own meals and cleaned my own shit – most of the time. What was really refreshing was just feeling free. I didn’t answer to anyone, not even my roommate. I had a place to make feel like my own, a place to be alone and a place to call just mine. That’s what I loved about being out in the real world. And I believe that’s the right reason to do it for.
CUT TO: Move out day. It was a hot Wednesday on the 3rd floor of the building. My boyfriend and I stood around, gazing at all of the work we (I) had to do. He’s the greatest for coming along to help me and put up with my ass through it all. My dad was meeting us there when he got out of work. Long story short, I was in a pissy mood from being stressed and anxious to move everything. I had barely any boxes. Who the fuck forgets boxes to pack with? I literally didn’t know what to do with myself. My dad, boyfriend and I stood around there aimlessly putting things in piles of “keep”, “storage” and “yard sale”. Both of the guys being such “doers” and anxious to help in any way, hated just standing around waiting for my direction. Me being a drama queen and control freak, didn’t know what to have them help with. It was a mess.
We decided to start with the big stuff. They man-handled my huge wardrobe from IKEA down the 3 flights of twisty and swirly stairs, bumping and finnageling the thing all the way down. I did my best to not laugh my ass off while I “guided” them down to the back door exit. We got the wardrobe down to my dad’s Dodge Dakota pick up truck. We call her Old Blue. As the guys were about to lay it in the bed of the truck, I suggested to run inside and get a sheet to protect the wardrobe from the bed of the truck. I reached for the keys to my apartment building. No keys were found. Not in my left pocket, not in my right. I took the damn things off my fucking car key chain RIGHT before we started moving stuff. Why the fuck did I do that? I turned to my dad and my boyfriend where they stood with a huge ass wardrobe in the middle of the street in the city. I stood at the door to my building, and made a face to them that explained exactly what I did. “You didnt.” my dad said to me.
Yes, I did. We were locked out. I noticed on the right hand side of the main door there were some buttons to the buildings. I lived their for 9 months and never pressed them, nor did I even realize we had doorbells. I pushed them each once or twice. I had left my phone up there with my keys, so I had no way of calling my neighbors or roommate or my landlord to see if they were around. My boyfriend didnt even have a damn phone at the time either, so not only were we useless, but not exactly safe to be locked out on the streets. I borrowed my dad’s phone multiple times to call my mom and roommate. She wasn’t gonna be around all night. I started yelling up to the open windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors. “HELLO? IS ANYONE HOME? I’M LOCKED OUT”. I kept yelling. I had no shame.
Meanwhile, my mom was headed over with bins to store stuff in. I told her to still come down and hopefully we’d find someone to let us in until she got here. While my boyfriend and my dad wanted to help and make me feel better, they were pissed too. I don’t blame them at all. I knew they were both antsy and hungry. I told them I was gonna wait at my car to see if I had a neighbor come around to let me in, and I asked them (insisted) that they go and have some beers at the pizza place accross the way. I decided to yell up to my potential heroes begging them to let me in. Nothing worked. I sat in my car and jammed to some Drake and Kanye for a minute or so. I was, surprisingly, full of energy and laughter. I was laughing at it all. Like, of course this would happen to me on my last day here. It wouldn’t be right if something didn’t go wrong. I was singing and jamming for a minute or so, then I looked into my rearview mirror and saw a fucking BOX rolling like a tumbleweed down the damn middle of the street. This may be a stretch, but I KNEW the universe was speaking to me. It gave me a box. THE ONLY THING I NEEDED WAS BOXES. I ran out of my car, leaving Kanye on and I booked it down the street to meet my box. I folded it up and, with triumph, carried it back to my car where I continued to wait. I was feeling more inspired and alive than ever. The universe was literally just speaking to me.
I searched for a pen and paper in my back seat, and began to write a note. I was going to leave it on the door letting my neighbors know that I was locked out and to please call (my dad’s number) if they came home. As I was about to shove the paper into the left corner of the door, I noticed one doorbell all on it’s own on the left hand side. 2L. It was the girls below me, whom I knew the best out of all my neighbors. I rang it, excitedly, and started to see the sensor-lights coming on as whoever it was walked down the staircase to the front door. I WAS BEING SAVED! She opened the door and I practically wanted to throw myself on her and hug her. I went inside, with my box, grabbed my keys and put them back on my keychain, called my mom to update her and let my dad and my boyfriend enjoy some beers in peace. I couldn’t have been happier to see my keys, and that’s when I realized that I had the same excitement the very first day the leasing office gave us our keys in November. I was just as happy to see them on my last day, as I was on my first day. I knew the universe was working the exact way it needed to, and for that I felt thankful.
My mom arrived and started to help me pack after I told her about the fiasco. I crossed the street and walked into the bar where I saw the two guys who mean the most to me, chatting with half-full pints of Sam Adams in front of them. I was the happiest girl. I told them I was into the apartment and most things were done and packed up, and to take their time finishing their beers.
Now it’s June and I’m living back with my mom at her new apartment in a beautiful community and neighborhood. I’m glad to be back with her and saving some money for when I do it all over again eventually, the right way. It was definitely about the learning experience and in hindsight, I’m glad to have struggled for that time. I know what it means to work hard and earn your own shit. I was making my money for my own bills, my own rent and my own lifestyle. I learned common sense and how to save and get as much as you can for your bucks. I learned to stay focused and prioritized.
Next time you’re thinking the struggle is so real, think again. And take it from me, don’t move out until you’re really ready, even if you think you are.