A MinD in MoTown

413 Harris Street, MoTown.

I sorted through the clothes that no longer fit or were too tattered to save. I packed the boxes of belongings I’ve had for years and those I recently purchased. I tossed food that lingered in my cabinets past expiration dates. I dusted, swept, polished and mopped an entire house just to bid it farewell.

But none of it felt the same as the other dozen times I moved in my life. Hell, it didn’t even feel the same as the last instance where I decided to share my residence with a boyfriend. This moment was much different, and I could pinpoint exactly why.

I was closing a chapter of my life — a two-year period based on independence — that held more importance than any other chapter before it. Sure, I have two diplomas to signify my college experience and albums filled with photos of those nearest and dearest to my heart. But that house and those walls, they were my security blanket, one that sheltered me as I changed and matured and developed from a confused post-grad with an uncertain path to a confident, organized, career-oriented person whose future had finally found clarity among the shades of grey.

Four hours into the move, with only a few boxes remaining but much cleaning to do, I stood in the center of my newly-bare living room talking to my mom and I completely broke down. I hadn’t wanted to move, but it wasn’t because of the situation at hand; it was because the house meant more to me than a place to live and leaving it behind carried more weight than the thousands of pounds of luggage I carried to my new home.

I moved into that humble abode on Harris Street in March 2008 following a breakup with my boyfriend of three years. He returned to Pennsylvania and I was suddenly left in MoTown, 600 miles away from everyone I knew only one year beforehand. I was living on my own, with the exception of a small and furry black roommate who only became a member of my tiny family days beforehand. I owned little more than a TV, futon, desk and kitchenware at the time, and had dealt with nothing but my credit card bills up to that point. At the age of 22, I was forced to learn how to budget my finances to ensure survival from day to day without seeing gas, electric or water services cease. I juggled being a new “mom” to my Sophie, teaching her not to pee in the house and not to eat my shoes, with two jobs. I cooked for one, cleaned for one, grocery-shopped for one… I learned who I was simply by taking care of myself, my household, my dog. The independence came easily, though the transformation within was masked.

And as I stood there in the empty room, my belongings en route to another town and a new residence, the swift realization of how much growth those walls saw in me and my life was overwhelming. The tears were inevitable so I let them flow for a few minutes before wiping them away and picking up the mop to clean another floor.

I’d lived in apartments before, lived with a boyfriend before, lived in a new town before, but this move was different because I was different. I wasn’t that same girl who was nearly homeless in a barely-known state two years ago, or the carefree new post-grad who moved to NC, or even the frightened yet eager college junior moving into her first apartment with friends in State College, PA; I was a real adult with life under her belt, ready to take on the next experience knowing that if it failed, I could make it on my own because I had done it before.

To everyone else, I was moving onto better things, leaving a small house in a mediocre part of town for a lakeside apartment in an upscale neighborhood. To me, I was turning the page onto a new adventure, looking back on the last one and seeing how those years and those four walls of my former home shaped every day henceforth.

It was more than a two-year residence. That house, humble little 413 Harris Street, was where I became me and although I’m not leaving that girl behind, it’s still a bit tough to bid adieu to the place that allowed her to emerge.

24 Comments so far
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I’m pretty sure this is how I’ll feel when I leave this house come July. This being an adult thing is just strange on a whole.

Hope your move has gone smoothly.

Comment by Kendall

So far it’s been pretty smooth, though unpacking is taking forever! I’m ready to be completely, 100% moved in.

Comment by amindinmotown

wow. this is a great post.

I felt the same way when we left our house in jersey..but for the opposite reason: it housed my childhood and all-important teenage years. and I was SO sad to leave it all behind. and constantly think back to my days spent in that house.

Comment by thatShortChick

Ahh, I can imagine having that same sort of feeling when my parents finally sell the house in Pennsylvania. They still own it, so I’m able to go back whenever — and my room is exactly the same as I left it when I took off for college — but it’ll certainly be surreal when that house is someone else’s.

Comment by amindinmotown

I felt the same way when I left my first apartment in small town Mississippi. For whatever reason, I was really sad about it because there were so many memories and so much learned in that place.

I hope the rest of the move went well and that you’re settling in. And that you always have fond memories of 413 Harris Street…

Comment by E.P.

Still working on settling in, but thank you. 413 will always be special, just as I bet your home in Mississippi will be. And you didn’t just leave that home, you left the whole area and state. That had to be tough despite moving onto happier things.

Comment by amindinmotown

It seems like everyone but me on the Blogosphere is moving lately.

Places can hold such deep memories for us. Especially those that allowed us to come out of our shell and into our own.

Comment by Kimwithak

“Into our own.” That’s an excellent way to put it. That’s exactly what happened.

Comment by amindinmotown

Moving can be really emotional. My last two moves have all been within a very short distance of each other, but each apartment holds its own place in my heart and I experience life differently in each one. I hope the new place is treating you well!

Comment by Ashley

So far, so good. Thanks for the well wishes! And you’re right about experiencing life differently. I hadn’t realized it before, not one bit, but I can see that now very clearly.

Comment by amindinmotown

heyyy!!! u won my giveaway!!!! send me ur info 🙂 🙂

Comment by theroughdiamonds

Wow I guess when I heard the word “moving”, i imagined it’s always fun. Never really thought of it this way but now I know someday when I have to move, I’ll feel the same way. Hope you like the new place and hope it feels like home to you real soon.

Comment by andhari

I guess “moving” does have a different side than excitement to it, though after a week in the new place, I’m thrilled to be there.

Comment by amindinmotown

Awww…I hope it gets better! 😦

Comment by nahl

That was one of your best written posts of late- I definitely get what you’re saying… hey, I’ve been there. For me, the big move was out of my ex-fiance’s place that we shared, and to my own place a half-hour away. It meant that chapter was over for me, and I was starting out, truly, on my own as a college graduate with a full-time job, with little ties left to college.

Comment by Andy

Out of an ex-fiance’s? Heavy. I bet you and I felt very similarly with our moves then, as mine was away from a boyfriend of three years (though without the impending-marriage part…).

Comment by amindinmotown

This is so beautifully put, moving out of my first apartment was very much like this and honestly these kinds of feelings are why we’ve decided to stay in our little house for some time longer. I’m just not ready to let it go =)

I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for the world, and how much you will grow and change in your new place!

Comment by Kyla Roma

Thanks darlin’. This new chapter will surely be an interesting one, especially with my boyfriend living in the same home. I, too, look forward to seeing how I yet again change.

Comment by amindinmotown

“If these walls could talk…” great post. I’m happy that you’ve come soo far these past few years. I hope you took a picture of the place before packing up. 🙂

Comment by OmegaRadium

I have a few pictures, but honestly, the whole move had me so flustered and frustrated that I didn’t snap any before packing the boxes… =/ Oh well.

Comment by amindinmotown

I think you summed up well why we can be attached to places. I’ll be living my first “real” (non-school) apartment in a couple of months, and I think it’ll be sad. It’s been a good little place.

Comment by Ronnica

Most moves carry sadness, but I think these big post-college ones are some of the hardest, or at least that’s how it’s been for me so far.

Comment by amindinmotown

this was very beautifully written! love how it can have so much meaning to you. 🙂 i too miss my periods and places that i’ve lived.. particularly the last one w/ my roomies.

Comment by floreta

Aside from boyfriends I’ve lived with, it’s been years since I’ve had roommates and I miss that. I miss that closeness and that “family-like” bond between friends. I know how you feel when it comes to leaving roomies behind.

Comment by amindinmotown

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