I don’t write much about my home situation anymore, but it’s not because I’m not happy. Quite the opposite. It just started to feel more and more invasive to write about the daily goings-on of my community. I moved from the observer stage to the participant stage. Any anthropologist will tell you that a loss of objectivity dulls your argument (but a good anthropologist might tell you that it makes you better at your job). Anyway, since there’s a baby in the house who is actively becoming a person, it felt weird to capture that growth. The facts? She’s two, knows more Spanish than I do, is funny, her favorite color is purple, and she’s really into dinosaurs right now.
Richie and I live in the Chalet now, but we are still in the community. There are pros and cons. I have more space, but I have more space. Does that make sense?
- Pro: Privacy
- Con: Having to go into the big kitchen when it’s nine degrees outside
- Pro: Having control over décor in communal space
- Con: Not being privy to every bit of house gossip
According to Boomers, a successful person leaves the nest at eighteen and couples up with someone else, gets married, has babies, and starts the cycle all over again. If you live life alone, you’re weird. If you live with other people, you’re a loser. Standing on your own two feet while continuously being swept away by the undertow? Struggling to pay the bills and carve out a life for yourself? The American Dream, baby.
Living in a community is something people are made to do, and I’m sorry that capitalism made us think that the only way to be perceived as successful is alone.
I mean, I was pounding the community drum before the pandemic, but living in an intentional community really makes sense. The only reason I didn’t lose my fucking mind during COVID was because someone thought it was a good idea to do yoga in the hallway once a week for a few months. Right now, a large part of my personal comfort lies in the fact that I share the grocery bills with nine other people. I paid about $200 for groceries last month, and that’s for everything from laundry detergent to salmon filets. You can’t tell me that shouldering the burden with other people doesn’t make life easier. Hell, my rent is incredibly affordable for the city because so many people live here.
Do I want to buy a house someday? Yes, but only because equity is apparently the only way to build generational wealth. Even then, I’d like to start my own intentional living community and keep sharing those grocery bills.
There’s nothing big or good to say right now other than this place is my home, and these are my people. This community rallies and supports one another the way people should. And really, none of us have anything much more in common other than that we live here and enjoy a good meal. In ten years, will I be in contact with everyone who ever lived here? Of course not. This week, one of my old housemates unfollowed me on social media—which isn’t a big deal because our lives are different—but her doing that illustrates the fact that people drift and change and that it’s okay.
Other times when people leave, there’s a big dinner and tears and promises to visit in the summer, and that’s okay, too. Two of my previous housemates are now cherished friends living out in Chicago, and I really will go see them as soon as I am able.
This house keeps us in a constant state of meeting new and exciting people. I don’t see myself going anywhere soon because this place means so much to me. I’ve grown here, fallen apart here, fallen in love with friends, myself, my fiancé, and I’ve come to the conclusion that people really do need people. Not only that, people need community.
Some possible benefits of community:
- Celebrate a toddler’s second birthday with purple ice cream and cake
- Get help sorting your clothes and deciding what to sell on Poshmark
- Have an engaged audience for your multimedia gallery performance (and for a toddler to dance during it and steal the show)
- Learn how to shape bread
- Be taken to a massive thrift store to fill out your wardrobe so you won’t freeze in the winter
- Be made an apple cake every day until the rum runs out
- Be bought champagne when you quit your job
- Be brought candles and blankets when the power goes out
- Be hugged you when you’re sad
- Be hugged you when you’re happy
- Get to create a complex collection of inside jokes
- Have meals made your allergy in mind so you don’t get sick or die
- Plan events that people actually follow through on
Look, nothing is perfect, and nothing is forever. This current season of Bond House will pass and bring something new. The ability to adapt and make room for change is good and healthy.
In September, I’ll be married in my backyard, surrounded by my family and this newfound family. In the meantime, we will be tending the garden in preparation for summer. No part of me doesn’t remember that it’s not loved. The seeds for this summer were planted in 2018, and it’s a joy to watch these flowers bloom.