A House is Not a Home: A Breakdown

I slept in a bed this weekend. Two nights in a row. The room was freezing cold but I covered myself in three different blankets and fell asleep with a smile on my face. I woke up to friends poking me to make sure I was still alive. I grunted and groaned to give them assurance that I was still kickin’ it.

As soon as it was time for me to leave my smile faded.

I want you all to know a little something something about me:

I have a hard time staying in one place for too long without feeling depressed or anxious. I stay somewhere for about four to six months with excitement and peace but after awhile, I walk through the door and immediately wish that I hadn’t. It has nothing to do with the people I live with or surround myself with. It’s 100% me and my inability to cope with whatever it is that’s fucking me up.

I moved out of my mom’s place when I was a senior in high school.
Six months later I’m hiding in my room drinking an entire bottle of wine by myself.

I moved to Chattanooga to go to school. I had the time of my life. I made friends I’ll have for the rest of my life. But time passed and my shit caught up with me. It reached a point where I had to have supervised showers because my roommates were afraid that every time I went into the bathroom I wasn’t going to come out again.

Basically since I was 17 years old I’ve changed my living situation at least a dozen times. It’s stressful and it puts a strain on my relationships, my sanity, and my finances.

***I’ve never had to sleep on the streets and I could have it a whole lot worse. I could be sleeping under a bridge getting high with the homeless dudes that chase you down for spare change. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family to help me out when I get like this. I can’t thank them enough because I know it’s a pain in the ass.***

Currently, I live at my late stepfather’s condo with my sister, her fiance and her five year old daughter. I sleep on a couch and I don’t even mind because I’m with my family and it’s far better than being alone all of the time which was basically my alternative.

So when my friend dropped me off here today, I was sad because I began to think about my home. It’s not this place. Not anymore. It’s not my apartment or my mom’s boyfriend’s house. It’s not my best friend’s bed or my other friends’ apartment.

It’s a two story house with blue shutters on the windows. The front door is red and there’s a section made out of brick that’s covered with bushes when you look at it from the street.

There’s three cherry plum trees lining the side of the house and one of those bushes with yellow leaves surrounding the mailbox. The grass is always overgrown because no one in the neighborhood cares about shit like that and we don’t either.

When you first walk in the door there’s a tiny little foyer with linoleum and there are normally clothes piled on the floor. There are two bedrooms, one being the garage that my dad turned into a bedroom. My sister Stephanie stays in that room. She painted it black and hung up posters of Marilyn Manson and hoarded all of the Harry Potter books we owned. Next to her is Charli’s room. She ripped up all of the carpet and colored on the concrete floor with chalk. The walls are covered in printed out pictures of Blink 182 and creepy porcelain dolls line the shelves. These rooms are always ice cold.
Walk up the stairs.

The carpet is blue and stained with years of spilled juice and cigarette burns. The walls are painted an awful shade of pink and there’s wall paper in the dining room that looks like cheap scrapbook paper. The kitchen was built by my father and he made this island where I would sit and watch my sisters try to hurry up and wash the dishes before our mom got home.

Walk up the stairs.

We have two bathrooms for four girls. Sigh.

The first is painted an awful shade of yellow and decorated with rubber ducks. I eventually painted it peach when my stepdad promised me that he would remodel the house for us. He didn’t. So it’s peach.

The first bedroom is on the left and it’s painted baby blue and light pink. Stephanie chose these colors (the one with the now black walls and Marilyn Manson posters). There’s a giant blue stain on the carpet from where we spilled the paint. I lived in that room when I was about nine years old. I had a Powerpuff Girls bedset and a Good Charlotte poster hanging above my bed.

My mom’s room is across the hall. It’s painted navy blue and deep maroon because Charli and I once shared that room and we thought that was a mature and classy color choice. My mom’s room is Head Quarters. We all put our makeup on in there. We all sit on the bed and talk. The door is never locked. It is always available. In this room I discovered the truth about Santa Claus. In this room I felt safe and secure because this was Head Quarters.

My room is at the very end of the hallway. It’s painted hot pink and lime green because at the time my friends all had hot pink rooms. I eventually cover my walls with pictures of Nick Jonas. And by cover I mean there is not one inch of pink showing because NICK JONAS RULED MY LIFE.

Outside there’s a deck my dad built. It’s got a tin roof that is disgustingly perfect on a rainy summer day but also quite terrifying during a storm. On the right side of the yard is a trampoline and on the left is a playhouse my dad built for us when we were very small. (My dad was quite the Handy Man)

Also in the backyard is a large LARGE hole my mother dug because she got the idea to build a pond. She didn’t finish this task. So there’s a huge hole in the yard. Sometimes I’ll picture her outside digging for hours and I’ll just laugh.

Then the things happened. Money got tight. We moved. But it’s still my home.

They always say, “Home is where the heart is.” and truer words have never been said.

I got in one of my moods tonight and got homesick. This house is right down the street from where I currently reside so I grabbed my headphones and my backpack and headed home.

I got to the stop sign at the beginning of the street and I began to cry. I stood on this corner for years. Whether I was waiting for the school bus or sitting on the side of the road waiting for my mom to get home from work. It was at the beginning of the neighborhood which was as far as I was allowed to go by myself.

I walked down the street and passed by the houses that used to be filled with friends. These people are now musicians and lawyers and mothers and cancer survivors. They left this place behind like we did.

I slowly approach the house. I’m trying to be as cool as possible because I realize that I’m a stranger in a neighborhood in the dark staring at a house, crying. I look creepy as fuck. So I walk quickly.

They painted. The door is made of glass. The brick is gone. The mailbox is a fancy cement sculpture and the shutters are missing.

There’s a big truck parked in the driveway. I stare at it and wonder if a man drives this truck. Did he just get home from work? I wonder how he treats his wife and his kids.

Or is it a woman’s? Did her husband die from a brain tumor and leave her to raise four kids in a house she can’t afford?

Did they change the carpet? Are her kids embarrassed to have their friends come over and play because the house isn’t as clean and nice as the rest of the kids’ homes?

Do they play in the playhouse my dad built for my family? Did they rip apart his kitchen? Are they excited to come home each day or are they counting down the days until they can move out?

I want to knock on the door and tell them when it’s Christmas, the tree looks best in front of the window because you can see it from the street.

I want to tell them that there’s a secret passageway behind the fence where I used to camp out when things got too crazy inside.

I want to ask them if they’re happy and if they feel lucky to have this home.

But I realize they’d probably call the police and I’d be hauled off to the loony bin so I keep walking.

I walk back to my sister’s couch and on my way I think of the home that I was lucky enough to have.

A home where the only scars I had at the time were from paper cuts and dog bites.

A home where my first boyfriend brought my mom cake for her birthday.

A home where I could leave and always come back.

I will always have somewhere to go. I will never be without a roof over my head and I can’t tell my family enough how grateful I am for all that they have done and continue to do for me. But I will never have another home like that one and I’m having a hard time dealing with that right now.

Appreciate what you have while you have it or you might end up standing outside a stranger’s window at night time like a damn predator.

This is the first serious post I’ve put on here and I hope I haven’t scared you all off yet.

I’m going to work on being happy in one location for longer than six months. Wish me luck.

I’ll leave you all with a quote from Stephen Chbosky that should reassure you that I’m not completely mental:

“Please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough.”

I hope you all have a nice night and I’ll see you around.

Bye, beeshes.


One thought on “A House is Not a Home: A Breakdown

  1. Oh Marki….. I love you so much! I know you have a lot of memories about that house and I’m mostly glad that you have such good ones. Your life has not been easy and most of it was spent in that house. You’re always trying to do better with everything and I want you to know that you are loved for the child you once were and the young woman you have become. Relax about yourself for a while, I am so proud of you and I don’t think you even know how much. You are so funny and the most beautiful girl EVER. I never knew how great you are as a Writer. I will probably still be sitting in this chair crying when the sun comes up in the morning and not just anyone can bring that much emotion up with the written word. Your dad and I are both so very proud of you! Love Mom


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