“You’ll never forget your first house,” my grandparents say to me on my last morning in Gainesville over coffee and peanut butter toast.
The phrase rings through me on the car ride home, and as I stand in our only working shower looking down at a noticeably rounder belly—a five months pregnant belly—I know this must be true. I’ll never forget the first house where I carried you around in my body. Where I held your bones and your heartbeat while they found their own patterns and rhythms. I will never forget this shower where we both got clean, and I felt you becoming real, one day after another.
But more than anything, I will never forget how we called this house…The Lizard House. With reptilian and amphibian surprises crawling through the living room screens and under cracks of sliding doors, the phrase came and did not leave. Now they (the lizards) stay outside making shadows on the window behind our blinds. They scurry around our wooden fence—the one that splintered totally in half on a mildly windy day in December.
We will never forget our first house. This is true, but we certainly are excited about walking away. Aside from lizards, there are crucial things our landlords refuse to fix, so we are free from the lease.
When we leave, the lizards will own this house again. I doubt these owners will ever get around to doing whatever repairs are needed, and since it’s Florida, the lizards and frogs are just waiting for us to leave. In this case, we are “The Others” (like Nicole Kidman and those kids).
After all the excitement of settling down, we are moving yet again right on schedule after 10 weeks. I know it means this house isn’t a good fit. It was just a transition piece, a reawakening. The Lizard House was never meant to be our full potential.
I looked at three properties today with a realtor. The last one was a hit except for the fact that it’s covered in carpet. Michael says carpets will be good for kids. My friend Allyson says carpets are good for baby knees and babies learning how to walk. My mom says carpets are good for elderly people and for babies. So maybe this house covered in carpet is exactly where we need to be.
Today is the first day I feel like a mom—a good one. Carpets are good for baby knees. That feels like a good mom decision.
It is 82 degrees in February today, so I drive to Downtown Winter Garden.
Walking under Spanish moss and paint chipped dream homes, Billie Eilish flows through my AirPods reminding what it’s like to connect with music. The blood line. The life line where every breath becomes my breath. This is life-support.
Even after all of this time, I still struggle to find my place with music. So vulnerable. I was so codependent on the people and songs I fell in love with. So what does this look like on my own? How do I love music without the codependent parts?
“There are parts of you that want the sadness. Find them out. Ask them why.” ~Yrsa Daley-Ward
When we feel a lot we tend to hang out in extreme emotions. That can be a sort of high on its own. Then one day real life happens to you like a bad car accident. Everything goes silent. Music becomes too heavy. Anything but silence is too heavy, and you look for a small slice of hope in the sounds of rain. You find comfort and patience in the wind blowing through tall grass. This kind of music does not ask you to get up and go riding the spikes of other times. Because when you are used to living in a haunted place, every step is dangerous. It takes a lot of therapy and healing to really pull yourself out of the past and enjoy music again.
I walk to the deli in my own musical world and order a giant bbq pulled jackfruit sandwich with purple cabbage on a challah bun. I set up my laptop with plans to eat every bite of this meal without feeling guilty.
Writing today is like dancing, like playing an instrument. Cuban music plays through the deli. Good music. Good food. I am happy. The next song plays, “Some Love makes you helpless. Some love makes you do Right. Some Love makes you do Wrong.” Everything feels right in this exact moment.
My dear friend Allyson is pregnant, Grimes is pregnant and even Domino Kirke is pregnant. I don’t know why, but all of that feels right. Even though we are about to move again after thinking we wouldn’t move again for another year, everything feels right. Michael, our little one and I are carving out our own history and settling into who we will be. We are GROWING.
I feel lucky to say that my biggest concern today was whether or not I would find a good parking spot downtown. I know that is lucky. I know I won’t always feel this way, but today, it’s a good day.
For more on the creative sobriety journey check out my facebook page The OAM, or follow me on Instagram @jacqui.hathaway.