Breaking my own fifth wall

As universally difficult as 2020 has been, 2019 was no peach.

It was not something I shared for political reasons. Not those politics, the personal kind.

After six years of residing in a live/work space located in an artist’s community, my landlords decided not to renew my lease. Seems they didn’t like me much, or at least the fact that I was quite outspoken per various ongoing issues (imagine that). Initially I was told I had two months to vacate, but if you recall, I had a trip to Italy planned and it was simply not possible. Once I threatened legal action my lease was extended for two more months.

Moving meant not only my household items, but also my entire vintage clothing stock as well as art studio. And of course I was experiencing progression. Sucked, sucked, and sucked some more. But I got it done (with a little help from my friends).

The apartment I moved into was charming and located within a few blocks of a dear friend. It seemed perfect. However I had been there less than a month when I was awakened by a loud argument coming from the apartment above me. Unfortunately it was occupied by none other than my landlord. Awkward. The shouting went on for hours (‘You’re a fucking liar, No, you’re a fucking liar!’) and then something hit the floor. Alarmed, I texted her to see if I should call someone. And my heart sank.

Unfortunately the arguing continued off and on and I began to feel both trapped and unsafe. One night she hosted a drunken karoke party which I posted about on facebook. The next day a friend let me know that an apartment just across the street from her was for rent, and that I needed to go see it that evening.

I loved these landlords (a couple my age) and the location—my friend was literally two minutes away. So I decided that I would break my lease.

All hell broke out after that, as my landlady searched my social media and saw both the facebook post as well as a blog I had written about her Halloween decorations.

Sigh. To say it was ugly is an understatement and I hope I never, ever see her again.

I also learned, not once but twice, that having a terminal illness means diddly squat in certain situations.

In the end, just as I was starting chemo I moved yet again. Household, vintage clothing, studio. It was expensive and incredibly draining. I did not start 2020 in a good place–financially, emotionally, physically.

However, y’all know by now that I am nothing if not resilient.

I am still in the hole (in all respects) but I have made some solid progress.

My new home is safe (although my friend/across the street neighbor moved to Maine once the pandemic started), the vintage clothing business is hanging on by a thread (just don’t want to lose more money) and I have a new studio in an unrefurbished mill in Lawrence. It is grotty, cheap, and huge with the most amazing light. I love it.

It has taken me the past few months–what with the clinical trial et al–to get it completely set up. Today, for the first time in over a year, I painted. And I can’t even begin to explain what a joyful experience that was.

So 2019–bite me. 2020–bring it. You’d be surprised at what I can handle.

5 responses to “Breaking my own fifth wall

  1. Again I say, you’re an amazing woman!!!

  2. Having experienced a bit of this with you I am so very happy that you are in both the physical and emotional space you are now! I’m very glad as well to see you’re painting too!✊🏽❤️

  3. Wow. I admire your stamina and perseverance. I hope the rest of the year goes well. What a writer you are.

  4. 2020 has to get better!! Here’s to you staying strong and in your apartment!!

  5. It’s depressing to think people can be so uncaring. Luckily we have friends to fill in the gaps from time to time.

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