44 Days

I signed a lease for an apartment in Cambridge last week! While I felt relieved after receiving the final confirmation email, the stress about moving itself soon sunk in: I have so much random sh*t strung about every nook and cranny of my apartment, I lack any sense of where to obtain boxes to pack this random sh*t once I get it together, and I still need to figure out how to attain furniture for my new place. I have told my friends over the past week or so that I feel stress adjacent – not stressed, because of my intensive use of emotion regulation strategies, though approaching stress, because moving blows.

On one level, I think I may feel stress adjacent because of just how much logistical effort moving entails. However, today, I made a to-do list of sorts to orient myself. Figure out where to get boxes. Ask about the parking situation at your apartment complex. Get rid of old clothes. Make a plan to procure furniture. Find a new hair stylist in the Boston area. Sacrifice your values and seduce a rich man of color to finance your life so you can afford a 1bed/1bath right on the Charles River, an apartment filled with books and far from the man himself.

When I paused to self-reflect on my stress adjacency today, I thought about the urgency I felt throughout my childhood. From my earliest memories to the age of 18, I wanted to get out of my house as soon as possible. I memorized the admissions criteria from my top choice undergraduate college’s website, I studied SAT vocabulary while running on the treadmill, and I self-designed vigorous study schedules where I read supplementary AP test prep books from front to back so I could achieve beyond the classroom curriculum of my AP courses themselves. In some ways these efforts paid off – I got into my college of choice – though I think I would have benefitted even more from ongoing therapy, culturally-sensitive coping strategies, and/or a different mother.

These days I still do a lot. Not in a glamorizing work kinda way – I love self-reflection, spending time with friends, and my hobbies, just as much if not more than my work. However, I sometimes still feel a sense of urgency that perhaps stems from me clearly being an Empowered Bottom™ some internalized white supremacy norms and my abusive childhood. Like, the other day I talked with a friend about a revise and resubmit I have on a paper for a peer-reviewed journal which I felt stress adjacent about, and in conversing with this friend, we both realized my coauthor and I still have over a month to complete the revise and resubmit. At times I try to pause and remind myself, Thomas, you’re safe now. Doing things a little closer to a due date or not having everything under control won’t kill you, or leave you stranded with your abusive mother.

I suppose my sense of urgency about moving may also serve as a mechanism to avoid dealing with a larger sense of grief. For the majority of my life I planned to escape, and now, I wish I could stay where I am. Though I feel excited for Cambridge, I’ve come to cherish the nature trail a five minute jog from my apartment in this city right outside D.C., my friends in the area who I gossip and analyze and process with, and my tennis pals. Before undergrad I had been traumatized, during undergrad I processed that trauma, and after undergrad, well, I’ve been more or less thriving. There have been negative emotions and experiences for sure, though their intensity feels so much less than during the previous, darker periods of my life.

I feel proud of myself for embracing the uncertainty of where I will find myself after residency; I have no clue where I will land because it all depends on how my job apps go. Right now, though, I have 44 days until my lease starts in Cambridge. Even with the stress of moving present, I plan to savor each remaining day in this city near D.C., cherishing every moment in this city I’ve come to call home.

Omg look at this photo I took of the gorgeous nature trail near my apartment on my jog the other day. So wild that I went from jogging to “As If It’s Your Last” from 2017 to 2019 to “Lovesick Girls” in 2020 to “Feel Special,” “I Can’t Stop Me,” and “More and More” from 2021 onward. Also I’ve grown as a person too through all these years, though that’s secondary to the evolution in music, of course.

Do you ever notice the way you get stressed or engage with stress stemming from your childhood? How have you coped with moving, other than finding a rich queer man of color to finance your lifestyle so you don’t have to do anything? I have been meaning to write about my parents so I’m gonna put that out there now so I’m held accountable to it for later, lol. Until next post!

9 Comments

Filed under Personal

9 responses to “44 Days

  1. priya

    ahhh such happy vibes !! wishing you the best with moving and getting on top of all those logistics. good luck for the job apps too!

  2. A sugar daddy of colour? hee hee… I joked with my bf that since I’m not a billionaire, I can only be a bitter melon daddy.

    I don’t know how much stuff you have to move. I guess if you need furniture you might ask your new room mate where you can buy some good quality furniture (used?). Perhaps you can take advantage of your professional network and ask for recommendations about moving, Boston etc… Hair stylist – get one last appointment just before you move. That will give you a bit more time to find another one. Maybe your current hair stylist has a recommendation?

    I can’t remember if you have a car or not. Don’t forget to get new plates and license etc… I’m sure there are checklists for moving somewhere on the internet.

    Enjoy the remaining moments in DC, have more ice cream and acai bowls. I love that you’re embracing uncertainty. A lot of people like me don’t enjoy that – that’s inspiring.

    Take care – have a great week!

    • That is the first time I’ve heard the phrase bitter melon daddy and I appreciate how it showcases your humor! Okay thank you for these recommendations re: moving, it’s happening slowly though it is happening! Also yep embracing uncertainty is an ongoing process for me though I’m glad I’ve at least named that as something worth trying. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment and I hope you are doing as well as possible this weekend.

  3. Enjoy your moments and best wishes to you as you await on your job apps. Blessings to you as you heal and grow. This is an exciting chapter for you. Love your connection with nature and being present. Prayers of comfort to you during your transitioning. 🕊🤍✨

  4. So happy to hear you are enjoying and thriving, Thomas. You got this move! Good on your for taking the move one step at a time and it’s very organised of you to make lists of what you have to do. Like you, my childhood and growing up was about urgency and working hard at classes, coming out on top. I remember back then I was very stressed, always feeling like I had be productive to be worthy. These days I recognise that you don’t have to be constantly working to feel good, and in fact taking care of yourself and well-being is, well, probably the sexiest thing you can do XD

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more of your musings 😊

    • Aww thanks for sharing the similar childhood upbringing and also recognizing that in the present day you can take care of yourself instead of just working to get to the top. Hope you are well and appreciate you taking the time to read and to comment.

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