“The choice to love is a choice to connect—to find ourselves in the other.”
bell hooks, All About Love
We are a people hardwired for connection and it’s in and through our relationships with others that we come to best know ourselves. At its heart, connection, relationships, self-awareness, and reflection are what my 30 days of 30 is all about: I get 30 days to celebrate the completion of 30 years of life and to acknowledge all of the intricacies that contribute to this life of mine.
I was in the middle of the spiral mentioned here and it was time to find a new home. I answered a Craigslist ad for an apartment with a woman; I was so desperate for a new space—somewhere of my own, and somewhere to create new memories—that I would have taken a closet, as long as it wasn’t with a serial killer.
18 months later, I am a new(er) person. I lived through my thawing out, thanks to community and I’ve spent the last year living in and through love.
My second 30 days of 30 (June 2nd) was spent with that woman I met thanks to Craigslist and my desperation: Lauren (and her newborn, Salem!)
While Lauren and I lived together, we didn’t spend tons of time with each other: our schedules were opposite and often when I was home, I would do work in my room. However, we would find moments to connect, to build, to learn about each other, meals to share, tv shows to watch. Last fall she shared with me during the hurricane lockdown, that she and her boyfriend had gotten pregnant as they wanted to, and that the baby would be due in the Spring. Lauren and I had discussed her desire for kids and I knew that she wanted this more than anything; I was over the moon happy for them—and immediately planned out my gift (it’s not really that original, I often pick the same assortment, but nonetheless, I was stoked).
Once a week(ish), I spend time with Lauren and Salem: I get to hold Salem, feed her, get my baby fix on. Lauren gets some time to rest, some adult face time, and we get to check in with each other. I’m one of Salem’s “aunties”, and just writing that word now, a gigantic smile breaks out on my face…. Because, when it really comes down to it, this is what life’s about: the people in our lives, the relationships we foster, the stories we share, and the space we hold for each other. I find myself (and clarity for myself) in the overlap between Lauren’s story and my own. I find myself in Salem’s practice of receiving care from those around her. I find myself in my bare feet, which hug the cement as Salem, Lauren, and I walk through the neighborhoods.
Here are some pictures from Day 2 of 30 Days of 30: