“Do I look like a crazy person?”
My hair floats around my face like dandelion fluff and my skin is red and sweaty. The only thing I’ve eaten today is coffee. Last night, I slept on the couch by a portable air-conditioner.
My friend, who’s eating chicken while seated on the kitchen floor, looks at me and says:
“A little bit.”
It’s been a busy weekend. Saturday morning, I moved out of my aunt’s house and into my first apartment. With the help of some friends, I managed to transport a bed, a desk, and a futon to my new, lakeside apartment in a suburb outside of Orlando.
I spent today at T.J. Maxx meticulously picking out a bath mat, garbage cans, and a shower curtain, occasionally googling words like grommets.
I also had a rather embarrassing instance with the apartment agent—an instance that made the agent go to my friend with bug-eyes and say, “Has this girl ever rented an apartment before?!”
But whatever. It’s mine. All mine.
This feels weirdly symbolic. As though I’m transforming into this independent, autonomous woman, or something. What’s that word again? Agency. I have more agency now.
I heard someone say agency involves being able to shape your environment to suit you. That’s what it’s starting to feel like as I settle into my apartment. I’m shaping the environment to fit my lifestyle.
For example, I shop for a kitchen table because I want to have friends over for a meal. I want to practice my viola so I’ll have a space scattered with sheet music. I’ll have pumpkin spice diffusers, a book nook, and bottles of rice wine and soy sauce lining the fridge door. It’s my space. I can shape it to fit me.
The irony is that I’m not a mature, independent woman. I still rely on my family. Furthermore, I am still an insecure, biblically-illiterate, street-dumb, immature twenty-two-year old. Honestly, I don’t know shit.
My friend said to me one time, “For someone with such an interesting background, you really don’t know much.”
Sure. I went to college in England. I spent a month in India. I helped teach circus tricks to underprivileged kids in rural Wales. I sipped mimosas given to me by store-owners in Chicago who didn’t know I was sixteen. I went to Catholic school in Mexico.
Did I know how to plunge a toilet a few months ago? No. No, I did not.
Will there ever be a time when I’m like, “yeah…I know stuff”?
Well, I did almost feel like that toward the end of uni. It was as if I had gone through my own coming-of-age story. It began with me drinking myself to sleep every weekend and culminated with my decision to abandon that lifestyle and wholeheartedly be a Christian. I learned to seek validation in God, not in the fulfillment of my own desires. I walked away knowing stuff.
But moving to a new place seems to erase all of that.
Being in a new apartment, at my new job, in a new city, and in a new state means the old knowledge doesn’t apply anymore. There are new lessons to learn. And I’m about to be reshaped by my new environment.
As I try to shape my surroundings to my lifestyle, my lifestyle will be, well, shaped by my surroundings. But maybe that’s all part of the learning process. You discover how to balance influencing with being influenced.
So as I fumble with getting WiFi set up and learn the ins and outs of adulting, I’m going to let this new chapter in life shape me. When I do move again, I might have to start all over again. But it only means I rely less on my knowledge and experience, and more on God. In the face of uncertainty, I put my trust in Him.
For now, here’s to beginning a new coming-of-age story, relearning stuff, and embarrassing myself to adulthood.