This is my Moldy Apartment
Right now my life is messy. Sometimes sharing is the last thing I feel compelled to do when life is well…messy. At the start of this year, I vowed to lean-in more, and holy shit - I have been thrown so much to lean-in to. It’s causing me to explore the depths within (greater depths than I previously knew I would touch). I am still without a home. It’s been eight months. Eight months of displacement. Of physical suffering. Of emotional pain. Of beautiful self-exploration. Of spiritual growth.
In December 2016 I moved into a new home. It was “completely gutted and renovated,” so when I started to get sick two days after moving in, I assumed I had a seasonal cold. As my sickness progressed, my Dr. urged me that my apartment was the culprit. Even though I believed her and intuitively felt that she was right, I ignored her. I had just moved, and I did not want to face the possibility of moving again. Until I started shaking, wheezing, and coughing up blood in the mornings. After multiple back-and-forth emails with the property manager and owner of the building, I was told I most likely had an allergy to a tree outside. Oh, because it’s very normal to all of the sudden start coughing up blood when living next to a certain kind of tree? I decided to have a company come out to test the apartment for mold. Surely enough, the levels of Aspergillus (a kind of mold) were four times higher inside than outside. I immediately started to sleep at friend’s places, while my partner and our dog stayed in the apartment (thankfully, they were not sick). This went on for two months with no luck of finding a new home. In May, we had the belongings we were able to salvage cleaned and put away into a storage unit, and we had to throw away the rest of our things. Without a new home lined up, we started our adventure of living “here and there” - with friends, family, strangers, etc. - with only a couple of suitcases and a handful of other items in tow. I had no idea that I would still be doing this, three quarters of a year later. What’s made the process of living this way and finding a new home so tremendously excruciating, is that I’ve developed an autoimmune issue/allergy to most buildings. So I wake up coughing up blood and/or with rashes in 75 percent of the places I stay. I feel like I could continue writing for days - about basically living out of my car, about often being separated from my partner and dog, about hustling and working while sick - but the little details are less telling than the big picture, the growth. This experience been incredibly exhausting, yet it has also paved the way for the birth of Object & Us.
I am not ignorant to the irony of this process - that I design spaces and homes for a living and explore the home/lifestyle sphere in everything I do. Yet in that irony, there comes a lot of clarity and healing. I have been exploring what it truly means to live inside of my inner home - how my needs can be met and nourished when everything on the outside is insanely chaotic. This journey has not been an easy one, and I would even say seemingly insufferable at times. But there’s so much spaciousness inside. Inside of everyone. Spaciousness that we neglect, that we ignore. I urge you to go there, to explore it. You may even find your way home.
Photos by Lauren Moore.