“You Shall Love Your Crooked Neighbor With Your Crooked Heart”

W.H. Auden writes this in “As I Walked Out One Evening.” I came across this quote again recently while rereading one of my favorite books “Looking for Alaska.” And I can’t stop repeating it in my head:

quote

I find that tonight’s rain matches my mood because my housemates and I have to move out of our mansion, probably one of my most favorite places I’ve ever lived, in a few weeks. Without having ever spoken to our landlord, I’ve heard there’s an actual move-out date, and then who knows what will happen to this crazy, not-so-well-put-together house?

It’s strange: A year ago, I was preparing to move out of SF, and I was a horribly emotional mess:

h

This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of my last shift at the dive bar I worked at, where I tried to stay positive while being surrounded by miserable people who had found a way to forget about their loneliness and anything they were sad about by drinking. People are products of their environment, right? I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted better. I got home that night, after my last shift where all the regulars came to drink with me and we listened to Motown music because that is what I do, and there was this bittersweet feeling of sadness as I sat in front of my desk that night, staring at the belongings in my room that I would store away over the next few weeks. There was so much sadness, yet so much relief at the realization that the life I had lived and known was coming to an end.

I honestly had no way in hell of knowing if I’d be okay once I got here. I knew that there was a huge likelihood that I would get to Austin, find a service industry job and/or childcare job, and fall once again into the comfort zone that is job stability without personal growth. The only thing I could solidly count on in hopes of being happier than I had been was the fact that I wanted to be happier, and that I wouldn’t get distracted by having a comfort zone.

I left San Francisco on July 15th, 2013. My stepdad, God bless him, helped drive me halfway across the country, and we got to Austin on July 20, 2013. A fews days later, after he helped do some maintenance on my new room, he flew back to California, and I was in Austin, alone.

But let’s face it, how different are these two cities really, besides weather, levels of land flatness, and closeness of tops of buildings to the ground?

BM (Before Move)
sf

AM (After Move)
atx

But that was my plan: I was going to crawl out of the lonely little hole I had created for myself; I removed myself from the environment that made me miserable.  And now I have to move again, out of this huge and glorious, but literally decaying mansion that I fell in love with the first time I saw it. I have to move away from the high-roommate-turnover house that once housed two people who are no longer alive since I first moved in– one from cancer, and the other from a horrible accident that probably could’ve been prevented if Austin had actual sidewalks for pedestrians and better streetlights. I might actually meet my landlord this time– hopefully one who doesn’t bring girls half his age to the roof of a house he doesn’t even live in. And God, I don’t think this last paragraph helped support the fact that I love this house:

house

This house– with the front porch falling off, and wooden panels from the roof that fall off every time it rains.  A lot of good things have happened to me while I lived here: I’ve come across so many amazing musicians who are talented and working toward producing new songs, even though there’s an overabundance of talent here, and everyone says it’s difficult to “get discovered.” I work a job with multiple people that I have a ridiculous amount of fondness and admiration for (and who also don’t think twice about picking me up off the floor of the bathroom in a karaoke bar and making sure I get home safe). I get paid to sing Top 40 songs, which still BLOWS MY MIND. I don’t care how many people scoff at cover bands; I honestly don’t think there has ever been a job MORE fitting for me.

There have been not so good things too. There are circumstances I wish I could change, but I’ve also realized and am working on (and will probably have to continue to work on) accepting the fact that I control absolutely nothing but myself and my own attitude. I had a conversation with one roommate (one that I didn’t spend much time with while living here) a few days ago as we crossed paths in the kitchen: he asked where I would be moving to. I told him one of our current housemates and I were moving to the East side. He asked if I could afford it (even though the rent is the same, if not cheaper than what I pay now), and I told him yes. Between my two jobs and my student loans I’m about to receive (which he rolled his eyes at), that I would be able to afford rent, as I have in the entirety of the last year. As he walked up the stairs, he said with an air of superiority, “I really hope you make it.”

face

Which really bothered me at first, because of the condescending tone he used to say it. And secondly, I realized, because he has absolutely NO IDEA how much ASS I AM KICKING HERE.

ninja!

 

A few months before making the decision to move to Austin, I had this satori experience about how awesome my parents are and the amount of time I was spending on people who didn’t necessarily want me spending my time on them, and I wrote this in a previous journal:

“So because of them, and for them, and for all the other good people in my life who don’t use me as a punching bag and are actually willing to listen to me and all the reasons I can’t sleep at night, I will be better. I will be the most successful person I can be in what I have chosen to pursue, which will probably take a while, but that’s okay. And I’ll treat people with respect, even when they don’t deserve it, and I will love and care for people who are good to me.

I will be better.

And everyone else can suck donkey balls.”

Now, my upstairs housemate made a comment that maybe I took a little too personally, and not everyone I’ve met has seen eye to eye with me. I may never be on the same page as I want to with some, but I am still striving to be better. And yes, I still think some people SHOULD go suck donkey balls.

But, I shall love my crooked neighbor with all my crooked heart. And I think sometimes that’s all you can do.

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