Anyone who has ever faced a time crunch to sign a new lease or has suddenly moved out of a place knows how incredibly stressful that time period in your life can be, especially as a young college student doing it by themselves. When I came back to Lexington for my sophomore year, I had extremely high expectations for how my year was supposed to go. We had spent the last 5 months on lockdown, but I was moving into a new house, classes were about to start and everything was bound to fall into place. As one can probably guess, the next few months were not all unicorns and rainbows, and I ended up having to move out of the house. As I scheduled tours for one-bedroom apartments, inquired about the average electric bill and whether or not the kitchen sink had a garbage disposal, I felt like everything was moving way too quickly and I was overwhelmed with the responsibilities that were about to fill my plate.
I ended up signing a lease for a one bed, one bath off Virginia Ave. The rent was way too high and I had no idea how to set up an account with LG&E, but unfortunately, time keeps moving and things have to get done. The first few weeks in that apartment were unlike anything I have ever experienced. For the first time in my life, I was truly 100% alone in the place that I lived. Every dish was mine to do, every mess was mine to clean and every piece of clothing was mine to wash. It was my responsibility to fill the fridge and my responsibility to call maintenance about the air conditioning not working and so on. Any time I would feel like this was something I couldn't handle I would pull out my phone and play the most encouraging song I could think of.
This song happened to be Ari Lennox’s “New Apartment” from her "Shea Butter" album. Lennox sings about her experience in a brand new place. She sings, “I just got a new apartment, I’m gon leave the floor wet/ Walk around this bitch naked/ And nobody can tell me shit/ A girl just bought some lights for decoration/ Ain’t nobody cooking, nobody baking/ Leaving my curls in the shower/ And no more missing the hot water…” It’s silly and fun and cute, yes, but coming from a living situation that really sucked, I used to play this song and just cry happy tears in my car. It felt like independence and liberation and I couldn't wait to feel the same joy that Lennox so obviously conveyed through her song.
I was so invested in this apartment, so I, in turn, desperately wanted it to be a reflection of me. I am a firm believer that your space and the energy in it will directly affect how your day goes or the outlook that you possess. It took months and months but I was slowly but surely able to fill the space with things that were important to me, such as my sweet little rescue kitty, framed poems that make me cry, or love letters from my boyfriend pinned on the fridge. My apartment became my home and my safe place and I cannot recommend enough how much I now believe that every single person should live by themselves at least once in their lives. I became a whole new person while I lived in that place, a person I am now proud of and feel so much better about presenting to the outside world. I felt like the independence that I gained directly resulted in confidence to strive after and accomplish goals.
When it was time for me to move out of that place come July 31st, my heart felt like it had been shattered. It looked so different after I moved all the stuff out. Everything that made that apartment mine had now been stripped and packed into a truck. Someone else is living there now. I hope they laugh the same way I did with friends on a couch that is simply way too small to host guests, and I hope they also dye their hair alone in the bathroom and wonder who stained the white countertops. I hope they sit on the kitchen counters with someone they love and eat raw cookie dough.
I could not be more grateful for the way that my fall semester sophomore year went. Something that I felt was going to result in a really terrible time in my life ended up resulting in the exact opposite. Next time you walk around your apartment or house or anywhere that you live, take a second to absorb all that you have created and the lifestyle that has been cultivated around you. Especially at the beginning of a new school year, you are constantly given the opportunity to grow and reinvent who you are. Many of us have moved into new places to begin the school year; take advantage of your newfound independence. Leave the floors wet.