Friday, August 19, 2011

packing up and moving on

I'm perched on my bed, in the middle of my room, staring at the multitude of boxes blanketing the tile floor. I can't stop thinking. I hate admitting it, but I have packrat tendencies. My minimalist father loves to throw things away and "spring cleans" on a monthly basis. My mom, however, hides away anything of remote sentimental value. I acquired the latter's genes.

When it comes to throwing away junk and going through old miscellany, my ADD kicks in full throttle. I find a crumpled handwritten note; a stained photo from two decades ago; a certificate from the third grade. I have subconsciously injected memories and emotions into every single one of my possessions. This is when my sense of recollection works best. I glance around my room and I see more than just furniture, clothes, and images; I see stories.

The Ikea lantern in one corner that I picked out with my ex-boyfriend over two years ago. The Hialeah Haikus book Carolina lent me a few months ago that represents where I come from better than most people even know how to point Miami out on a map. The Broken Social Scene poster I ordered on eBay in 2009 that became the first wall art in the first room I lived in outside of my parents' home.

Two weeks from today—if all goes as planned—I will be sitting in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. I don't know much more about this plan than I did several months ago, when the blueprint first started being drawn. With a little dollar and a lot of dreams, I am leaving the only place I call home. In five days, my brother will be flying to Lima, Peru, to join my parents who moved there about a year ago.

While I had already been living on my own for a couple of years when they left, their move still hit me like a brick wall. Before, I always knew that I could go back "home" and see them. Our relationship improved tenfold when I moved out. They say that long-distance relationships are hard. It's not just true for significant others. But moving in with my brother, to the last apartment I lived in with my mom and dad before I first moved out, made the transition a lot smoother. We've grown closer in ways I never imagined. Eleven years my elder, the kid who used to babysit me and burp in my face has become my best friend.

Moving away from Miami and experiencing life in a new city have always been top priorities for me, but inaction via comfort has kept me here. (Roughly translated as "a job" and "an apartment.") With the notion of my brother's move gradually peering over the horizon, I realized that it was time to do something new. Living in this apartment for the past year has been a kind of limbo. I have partied a lot less than I did when I first moved out, stayed (mostly) celibate, and worked 50-hour weeks for months at a time. When Victoria told me she was moving to New York City at the end of the summer, I discovered that I didn't have to keep being one of those people that wished they lived there.

When you realize you have nothing to lose, chasing your dreams becomes instinctual.