Monthly Archives: March 2014

Renting in Richmond

photo(11)Besides taking an emotional toll, breakups for couples who live together is cause for a chain of events. I’m two months through my own and I’m still trying finding it impossible to get my shit together. Together, my ex and I created a home so naturally, we purchased furniture, renovated both bathrooms, and got two dogs.

Deciding who gets that gorgeous knife set her parents got us, how we share the dogs, and the ultimate … my move out has rocked our worlds.

During our split, I’ve been searching for my perfect, bright Fan apartment. And I was still searching until this afternoon.

Navigating the Richmond rental market is a call for the strong and brave. From the places I saw and the landlords I’ve encountered, this has been comical … and a little depressing.

My search began with a dump of a place off Monument Avenue in a older multi-complex building, which shall remain nameless. For $650, I could have gotten a 360 degree touch-every-appliance-kitchen, 1 2 foot closet, and a rank-smelling lobby. I passed. I called my best friend on the way home in tears.

Initially, I only wanted to be in the Fan and wanted to live by myself. The people, history, and atmosphere topped my list but I was still open to other areas. The next two places were off Park Avenue, one of my favorite streets. However, neither was a fit, one was more than the advertised price and the other felt just … creepy. Windowless bedrooms seem to be a trend and I just can’t wrap my head around waking up in the dark each morning.

After seeing a handful of places, none being a fit, I knew my place would be hard to find so I decided to sublet an apartment off Grace Street for a couple of months so I could make a less-rushed decision.

I call this my “launch pad”.

My sublet is wonderful and everything I was looking for – historic and big but the landlords are another story plus, it’s not pet friendly. In my one encounter with them, I felt like a 29 year old single loser. After explaining to the lady landlord that I was separating from my partner, she immediately asked questions about him owning our house – “is he going to buy you out”? I didn’t feel the need to correct her (did I mention she’s Russian) especially after she learned my age and told me “my daughter, your same age and she FINALLY get married”.

Thanks. A lot.

Going back to my home search, I decided something needed to change so I branched my home search to Churchill, Downtown, and Shockoe Bottom. There, I looked at 4 places  – half of them went to other prospective renters moments after I toured and the others were a little sketch.

Every day, I scoured Craigslist, Hot Pads, and Padmapper. I was becoming a little frantic.

Some might say rental hunting is silly since you’re a renter. For me, it’s a new chapter. It’s a place for me to live while I hit my restart button so I take it pretty serious.

Today, I toured a newly built warehouse-turned-apartments in Shockoe Bottom. I looked at a few units – one in particular had skylights, concrete floors, a swanky kitchen and was sold. I don’t know if I fell in love with it or if my search was exhausted.

I’m excited to finally know I have a place for my next chapter. Although it’s super expensive, I’d rather pinch pennies than deal with a judgmental landlord, share a space with a stranger, or suffer old house disasters.

So my next phase will begin June 1. It’ll be bittersweet and full of new change.   And, if it doesn’t work out, if I choose that it’s not for me, I can move.  Lucky thing for a renter vs. a home owner is you can always change your environment.

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Cutting Cords

medium_10011881004There are moments when the universe hurls signs at you and you still manage to keep ignoring them.

For 2 years, this happened.  It all came to an end a month ago.

Today marks the 25th day of my breakup. I felt more together on day 1.

That night, during the Winter Olympics, these words suddenly escaped my mouth …

“This is not working. We both know this. We can’t do this anymore.”

I never thought I could muster the courage to say these words out loud. Of course, I had rehearsed this conversation for a year on my drives to work, when she deflated my hopes for a fun weekend, when she wouldn’t hold my hand back, and late at night in bed (feeling so distanced) but vocalizing it took on a whole other feeling. One that was unexpected.

Breakups are the most underrated pain – even if you’re the one that brought it on. It’s the kind of I-feel-fucking-crazy then what-kind-of-mistake-did-I-make whirlwind of emotions.

Like others going through the same ordeal, I find myself trying to keep busy, immersed in all kind of healing prospectives (podcasts, self-help articles, meditation, you name it), and at the same time looking for a new place to live, keeping my sanity together at work, and figuring out what to do with our dogs and that Mexico vacation we booked for May.

After combining energies (because you do this in a relationship) with “your person” and building everything that comes with it (the sex, the same dinner spots, to the home you both create), you’re now forced to retrain your thinking on it all.

After 5 years, we just couldn’t get it right. Of course, I’m being kind and I did get hurt (this seems to be an ongoing trend) – there’s so much more to our story.  But, every relationship has a story that deserves its own book.

For anyone going through a their own mind-boggling break up … you’re right, this fucking sucks.

In my search for some kind of inner peace, I find things to temporarily relive my truffle-eating, sad-playlist-listening, and journal-scribbling self. Here’s the latest and a perfect end to my rambling, from one of my favorite sites, Autostraddle.com.  You can find the link here or read below.

“Even though sometimes the world seems about six sizes too small for our pain, the amazing shit is that no matter how deep purple the bruise is, no matter how dark and overwhelming and miserable and worthless it all seems the world will get a fraction of an inch bigger every day.

Really, every fucking day.

And you won’t notice it for a long time until suddenly, one day, it’s only five times too small for your pain and then four and then the world will just keep getting larger and larger in comparison to your shattered heart and eventually it will be able to hold it and then it will outgrow it.

And your pain will be just a speck in your world.

It is supposed to feel like the end of the world right now. That, my beautiful dearest, is how you know that it was worth it. That is why it was one of the relationships that shook your core and after which you will never be the same. That is how you know that you are growing up and are experiencing shit rather than living safely in risk-free choices….

The world is supposed to feel as though it is ending and you are supposed to know only in the most dormant recesses of the backmost corner of your soul that it will not be like this forever.

You are supposed to feel acutely and lucidly that everything is over that your purpose for life is worthless and that not even cheesy pasta and Molly Ringwald movies are going to make you smile, and you are supposed to know opaquely and elusively and abstractly that everything is not over and that your purpose in life is so much huger than you can ever imagine and is still saturated with value and that you will eat pesto and read Stephen Dunn and live in Manhattan and have stacks of waffles at corner diners with girlfriends and spend inordinate amounts of money on bath products and sunbathe on the roof reading trashy novels and you will will will will will will will love again.

I did not think that I was going to be able to ever breathe without shaking again after J broke up with me, let alone successfully love and fuck again.

That is what you are supposed to think.

I cried hysterically for months.

I wept so much that I had stewardesses on planes ask me if I needed oxygen, I had waitresses refuse to serve me, I had strangers approach me with offers of help.

Then I stopped.

Then I started again and stopped again and started again and then stopped for good…

… I promise you will survive, and with more grace than you can now imagine and that you will have more grit and vision because of it.”

photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca via photopin cc

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