In the last 7 weeks, I’ve worked more than I have all 4672 months of the pandemic; I packed up my small over-priced apartment and moved into a larger, cheaper one where the landlord doesn’t try to make slimy “deals” like increasing the rent permanently for a fixed-cost paint job and then say things like “Glad I’m finally seeing your true colors, Lauren” when I retroactively try to stand up for my rights; annnnd, I broke up with my boyfriend. It’s been a delightful time!
Really though, aside from that dark 5 day period when the toilet in my new place broke, and I had to shit in a plastic bag and then CARRY it in my HAND on my way to work, dropping it into what I deemed to be the grossest garbage can right outside the metro station where, let’s be honest, there’s probably already 4-6 other bags of miscellaneous shit hanging around… it has been a pretty amazing time.
For starters, the new conductor of the orchestra I play for (I will not be naming either, for fear that anyone searching those terms will also read the paragraph I just wrote…) is just, pure love and joy incarnate- the Ted Lasso of conducting. Going to work with him at the helm has been fun, energizing, rewarding, and career-reaffirming. Remember when I wrote that article claiming I was done with classical music and wanted to be a writer? Well, I’m allowed to change my fucking mind, okay? I still want to be a writer very, very much in any way that manifests, but hey, classical music is really fun when you’re ALLOWED TO MAKE MUSIC!! What a novel concept!! Let’s just say, that has not been the case with certain conductors of my past experience.
My new apartment is old and quirky, but it’s great! For some reason there are band-aids all over the floor, covering up something mysterious that I’m too squeamish to investigate (a wound? was the floor hurt?!?); the stove hums a high-pitched major 2nd and CLONKS at me every 10 seconds while baking; and of course the toilet is… flakey… but, there is this beautiful little yard where I get to watch the leaves change color, while smells from the bakery next-door waft over, reminding me that if I’m ever too lazy to make breakfast, it is right here, on my way to work… no really, just, right here… And there is an adorable breakfast/writing nook with shelves built into the wall where I can put all my self-help books and plants which I will slowly kill over time… and there’s beautiful crown molding everywhere that makes up for all the cricks and cracks that the millipedes use to come visit me in the night. My studio where I pretend to practice is much bigger, and it generally is just a WAY better place to have friends over.
The whole boyfriend thing… it’s sad, yes, because he was sweet and I am 35, and it’s just like… okay so WHAT exactly are we LOOKING for, if not that?!? He treated me with so much empathy and support and kindness, and he was adorable, and he thought I was sexiest when I didn’t shave or wear makeup… and well, to sum up just how comfortable I was around him, one time we went to this one-room cabin in the middle of the winter, with no shower and a fun outdoor compost toilet that shocks you awake as you plop your poor innocent butt cheeks down on the frozen seat first thing in the morning. I’m standing naked in the “kitchen” one night, dipping a long purple camping towel into a pot of hot soapy water from the stove, awkwardly maneuvering it around my dirty cabin crotch- and he’s just lying RIGHT there, directly across from me on the couch, watching me as he eats applesauce straight out of the jar. I have never let ANYBODY ELSE see me in this way, and I’m not entirely sure I ever want it to happen again. But it’s a moment I’ll always look back on with fondness.
The beautiful part of this relationship, aside from the companionship during the darkest of winters- the winter where we weren’t allowed to go anywhere or see anybody unless it was outside at a 6 feet distance… is that I actually believe again, after a string of toxic relationships, that GOOD GUYS EXIST. I learned that I need, and deserve, to be with someone sweet, empathetic, and down to earth enough that I can let it all hang out, sometimes quite literally. But, I also learned, that apparently, I need to be with another creative soul who’s life purpose is in line with mine. Someone I can’t wait to hang out with, because we have so much in common to talk about, so many ideas to hash out and explore- so many art babies to create that help the world heal just a little bit more. But for now, I’m pretty happy just chilling in my new digs with my cat.