Hello nurse! I am traveling around the US and writing about it, and there seems to be no end in sight.
US Tour Day 46: Wanting My Own Space Again
What does it mean to have one's own space? And, is it in our nature to require such a thing?
I used to think that I required no space of my own, save for maybe my car and a space of peace I created in my heart. That world view has been changing a lot lately.
I've been in Austin for almost a month now. At first it was really fun to couch surf and stay in a new place every night—exploring and building relationships, trying to cement acquaintances into something more solid. But, after staying in this city for a few weeks it felt like others' perception of me changed. I wasn't a traveler trying to relate to as someone just passing through anymore. I had graduated to this in–between thing. I no longer received the hospitality that one often pays to a road–weary friend of a friend or distant cousin. Yet, I was not really a resident with the social benefits usually afforded to friends that live nearby.
I noticed it about a week ago. The administrative overhead that went into finding a place to sleep every night started to feel very heavy on my heart. My mood sank a bit more each day, I started to feel depressed. It's exhausting work, really: Who could I call today and ask to sleep at their place without feeling like a burden? Wow, a burden.
Save for in the abstract, the fear of being a burden has always been foreign to me. I've been lucky enough to live my life with people who have a strong allegiance to me and our friendship. I'm used to people inviting me and being enthusiastic about my presence. The people here don't really know me—they haven't known me long enough to be enthusiastic about me or have any allegiance. It's OK. But, it makes me long for my friends and loved ones and a place I can feel I have a right to sleep in each evening.
A few nights ago I sat in Spider House, my favorite local internet cafe, trying to write. It wasn't working. I was too tired to do anything useful involving my fingers and those little keys with letters on them. I stared at the screen, motionless. I kept trying to write to keep my mind off the fact that I had no nowhere to go that was mine, no safe place. I was near tears. I'd called everyone I knew in Austin and still hadn't found a place to sleep. I couldn't afford a motel. I was scared and alone and felt so very far from my loved ones, the people who have been supporting me for my entire life.
But, hopefully this malaise will vaporize very soon. Audrey let me know that there will be a room in her house opening up soon, and I will probably be able to move in there and pay rent on a weekly basis. I hope this happens soon, because I am tired and sick and lonely and need a break from this life that will only be afforded by some stability.
In the meantime I miss my home, I miss my friends, I miss my bed, and I miss Andie.
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