Thought Catalog
June 9, 2017

Being Alone In My Apartment And Not Being A Real Person

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What is the issue?
Bekah Russom

Part One

A newly discovered source of contentment for me has been drinking my coffee on the floor of my living room in my underwear.

As anyone who has ever lived with me can attest to—and honestly anyone I’ve spent enough time with that I feel comfortable enough doing this at their apartments too—I am most at home sitting around and talking, in my underwear. My roommate and I have approximately five different chairs in the minuscule, window-less shared space that connects our respective bedrooms (mine is technically part of the living room, spliced in half with a fake wall that I was promised wouldn’t fall on me, but I still think about it happening sometimes), but no couch. Instead, the floor is covered with this beige-y shag carpet that, over the course of the 10 months we’ve been living together, three different people have slept on.

It’s nice to have these mornings alone, on the living room floor. They are incredibly rare. I don’t necessarily crave them, so much as I soak them in when they do randomly occur, unplanned. My roommate and I have known each other for over a decade, and I feel my most safe and comfortable when I’m around other people at all times, but sitting alone on the floor is like peeling off another protective layer. I don’t have to be a real person.

Part Two

Baths are an underrated luxury and I will legitimately fight until near tears with anyone who disagrees with me. I would prioritize a good, solid bathtub aesthetic over any fancy kitchen appliance or closet space. First of all, I don’t cook; secondly, my dream wardrobe would be two shirts so oversized I could wear them without pants.

Baths and showers are vital to my sanity. When I’m stressed, I will shower up to three times in 12 hours. When I’m hungover, I will (and have) sit on the floor of my shower and sip my Gatorade there (yellow flavor only, anything else is trash—especially blue). My motivation for working out is the long, luxurious shower I reward myself with afterwards.

When the stars align and fate is in my favor and the universe is right, I will realize that I have a night to myself, alone in my apartment. I will draw myself a bath and nurse a beer in said bath, and just stare at the shower tiles. If people text me to ask what I’m doing, I blatantly ignore them. It is my secret ritual where I don’t have to be a real person.

Part Three

I never do work or eat in my bedroom. I rarely allow people in it to begin with.

When I was growing up, I would have to pause or change playing with certain toys because they would start to feel too warm and used in my hands after too long. I liked the sensation of holding something cold and new again. That habit grew up with me, and I now do the same thing with pens and mugs and chapstick tubes—I am constantly swapping them around and revisiting the newness of them in my hands.

That’s how I feel about my room. I want it to stay cold and new and unused, so that when I slide the door closed, I can relax. It’s a fresh environment for me, and it feels hot and stuffy to me if I’m in there for too long. I don’t associate it with work or stress or Being On for the benefit of other people.

Every once in a while I will go on a purge where I need to develop photos of everyone I know so I can cover my walls and fill frames with their faces. Before I left LA to move back to New York, I made everyone I really loved let me take an individual photo of them. I’m insane and insufferable and hate being on camera in any capacity, so I mostly just decorate with pictures of the people around me instead.

I am never a real person when I’m alone in my bedroom. Even the simple visual of my door being left slightly open leaves me on edge—just in case I need to put myself back together at a moment’s notice. But those late hours or early morning hours when I am truly and utterly alone in my cold, unused bedroom are almost surreal. It is an entirely different version of myself that I only get to experience when I’m really alone. I’m sucked into my head and I don’t come out until the illusion is ruined as my alarm goes off or my roommate turns on the faucet in the kitchen or the phone rings and the day has to start.

It makes me wonder what would ever happen to me if I actually lived alone. I don’t think I’d ever leave my head. I think I’d forget how to be a real person. TC mark

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