Couch Crashing.

There is something I’ve become pretty good at over the last year that I would’ve never really expected, being a sick kid and all, and that thing is adaptability. Since giving up my apartment last March, I haven’t had a real home that I consider all mine since. All mine: that’s a phrase we humans love. I have jumped from house to house, state to state, with a small bulky suitcase and a bag full of pills for a solid year now. I’ve turned into a professional couch crasher. I have found that I encounter home in many places. That studio apartment that was all mine was just one of them. I remember cramming the last of my remaining boxes into my corolla and turning in my key to the landlord last year. It was a terribly sad day. Currently I’m writing from Tampa, Florida, nearly a year since that day, and I am suddenly feeling the freedom of not owning anything anymore. For so long I was trying desperately to keep everything I had, like a squirrel stumbling around hanging on to too many acorns, because they were all small symbols to me that my life was together and I was together and I could do it on my own. But finally letting those attachments go (and accepting what was true) has opened up a new freedom. Basically everything I need I can fit into this green bag I bought a couple of years ago. Except Monty of course, he doesn’t fit. But he made the 10 hour drive to Tampa, and is an incredible teacher of what it means to be adaptable. See?

I think he likes it here.
See?

I don’t know how long I will be here or where I will go next. At some point I plan to go to Colorado and stay with my grandma for a while. And at another point I’ll make it to New York because my brother and sister-in-law will be having their baby in a few weeks. I don’t have a distinct plan. Which is very much my style because about 95% of the plans I make do I ever follow through with anyway. So in this new style of life, I just sort of go where the wind takes me, and on my own terms. I am lucky to have such loving and welcoming people in my life who have all said in their own way “Sure, I have a couch you can sleep on.” Of course they don’t mean permanently and I never intend to stay forever, but there is sort of an unspoken agreement between me and my hosts: Stay until it’s time to go. Last year I spent two months in New York at Nick and Estee’s. (The soon to be parents) Then I spent a month in California at my sister and brother-in-laws house. Then a little time in Miami for Nick and Estee’s wedding. Then it was back to my parents house, and floating around on couches in New Orleans, recovering, writing, and living a non-traditional nomadic life. I have finally grown accustomed to living unplanned, undecided, and out of a suitcase.

I still look forward to the day when things are settled down, when I finally have a home base, and when I can answer this question a little more easily: “And so what do you do, Mary?” I love that question. And by love I mean despise. How does someone like me begin to even remotely answer that question? Usually I say “Oh, I live with my parents and yell at the TV when they watch Bill O’Reilly. Sometimes I take showers. What do you do?” I think now I have a better answer. I’m a nomad. But instead of wondering in fields, I crash on couches. At this point, it actually does feel like my vocation. Like I’ve been called to wonder around the world for a while, and figure out how to live well even though I’m not. It’s certainly been a learning experience, but I know I still have a long way to go. Like my mom always says, Just do today. Today I’m in Tampa, it is sunny and warm and Monty is fetching sticks in the bay. Somehow after the journey here, I still haven’t crashed. I woke up with a pretty killer migraine this morning but the medicine took care of it and I don’t have that typical Feel-like-I’ve-Been-Hit-By-A-Truck-In-the-Face feeling. So I am grateful for that, and trying not to harp on it for long. Sometimes I fear if I think too much about it the good feeling will go. So I’m not questioning it, I am just grateful.

I think more than any physical place, my notebooks have been my home. Writing often reveals to me what is true and real before my own mind can recognize it in the world. I know that writing is a way for me to find truth and tell the truth. It might be why I get anxiety just before I sit down to write, but after I finish, I feel better. Lighter. And if I’ve written correctly, I always walk away with more clarity, more light in the room than before. So I won’t concern myself too much with what house I call mine for now. Maybe home is more an internal thing than anything else. For the time being, home is on paper, and deep within.

Health, Happiness and Nomadic Tendencies.

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19 thoughts on “Couch Crashing.

  1. hey there just came across your blog and will read more later on. Both me and my partner suffer from fibro and I also run my own blog on WordPress too. Will look forward to reading more soon take care soft hugs xx

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  2. I came across your blog yesterday and just wanted to let you know how wonderful your blog is! I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), a chronic pain disorder, when I was 9… Can’t believe its been 12 years since the roller coaster started. Anyway, I started here on WordPress because I’d like to share what little insight I’ve learned and my journey with others who are also struggling. You are so well-adjusted (yay for adaptability) and optimistic, and I really appreciate your honesty as well. Each of the posts that I’ve read so far make me smile :) And I love that you love your dog so much! Mine has been a great companion on painful nights!

    Katie

    PS My blog is http://www.conqueryourmountains.wordpress.com and if you ever find the time, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a look and give me pointers if you have any. I’m new to this whole blogging thing, and you seem to be really good at it so I’d love some constructive criticism!

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  3. Every freaking time I read a post of yours I feel better. I am in the lowest of lows right now and haven’t been able to do anything but couch surf for the last day or two. In fact, for the last few months I’ve barely been able to do anything outside of my part time waitress/bartender job. Rent is due, the gas tank is almost on E, and I have $11 cash–I’m not going to starve or anything, but hot damn, it gets nearly impossible to keep going at times. I’m thankful on days like this there is a voice out there that knows what it’s like and how to put it into words that are sometimes actually really funny. So, um, thanks!

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  4. I wish I had the ability to be free and let go of everything. I often find myself tied up and consumed with my life and all of the things in it. I know I need to learn to go with the flow and let things be, but it’s one of the hardest things I haven’t learned how to do yet.

    I agree with the people above me though, you are a writer. A damn good writer.

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  5. I really like that last paragraph (the whole post is good, though). I, too, get anxiety when I sit down to write, or when I think about writing a lot of the time, but you make a compelling case to just do it because you will feel better. I have been letting myself off the hook far too often lately, and I feel burdened by it.

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  6. I like this post…. really… the nomads are at the same time, lonliness people, but not sadly people… they´re always join the life, the beauty, te nature, the people… everything… have one song of a latinoamerican band -from argentina- that says: “Home sweet home, home sweet home, y esta no es, no es mi casa no”… which wants means that every place is our home… no matters where we stay today… the mater is that we feel in home, even when we don´t stay in our own home… so mary…

    Health, Happiness… and home sweet home :)

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  7. It appears you are indeed extremely adaptable. I must also make comment about your “And what do you do?” hating. I HATE that question. I have spent the years since graduating from college trying to “find” what it is I do. The only answer I can come up with right now is “live LIFE”. I’m not a stay at home mom–I have 3 part time jobs. I’m not a “career woman”–I stay home as much as I can with my child…hence the three part time jobs. So when someone asks what it is I DO..I often find myself lost for words. What a horrid question.

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  8. ‘So what do you do?’ There a number of answers going through my mind about you right now: blogger, writer, optimist…philosopher. You own a pretty decent blog and your current lifestyle gives you the opportunity to do something most people cant. Sit down and think! And one step further write about it. And you own a writing style that makes sense and is easy and fun to read!
    Ever heard of Marcel Proust? I can see couple of things in common between you two… Look him up!
    Just to make myself clear, this is not a post filled with complements to make you feel better. This is an observation from a complete stranger who happens to follow your post every now and then.

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  9. Couch-crashing does give you that freedom, and opens up opportunities to experience that you wouldn’t normally have if you were living in a permanent place. Enjoy it! I’m very envious. I don’t think I’d be able to go sans a place I could call my own, but I’d love a caravan with which I could just drive where ever I wanted to go.

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  10. I didn’t know Nick was having a baby- Congratulations to them! If you ever need a couch to sleep on in Pueblo, CO, mine is free. :)

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  11. I dread the “what do you” question too. It’s hard to be a writer and an actress when you’ve yet to have credentials to your name. Hope you’re enjoying Tampa, it looks beautiful.

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  12. That’s exactly what writing’s like for me, too; a type of therapy.
    Like you, perhaps like everyone, I am currently in the process of figuring myself out. It isn’t at all easy. Until this year, I had done a lot of moving about. Now, for the first time in my life, I have a tiny apartment that’s only mine. It’s wonderful not to share and to be able to govern myself without having to wonder if I’m treading on toes, but that’s just because it’s what’s right for me at this moment. The solitude’s great for my writing, and I’m slowly getting to know myself and to think of myself as a friend. : )
    Best of luck and congrats on your soon becoming an aunty; it’s best. : )
    Michelle
    http://www.theyeariquitmylife.com

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