Moving, growing, crafting, packing…hoarding?

Long post ahead. Oops.

I’m moving! Hoorah!
At the end of this month, my lease on my Decatur apartment is up, and I am moving out.

I’m moving back in with my parents!

For a couple weeks.

Then, as soon as it’s ready and painted and such, I’m moving into a brand new home with the man I have been in love with for eight years! It’s pretty awesome.

On the downside, I’m leaving a job I adore. I work as a nanny for an amazing family with two brilliant little girls, and I really do love my job. I’m giving up being close to my godsister, who is something not-just-family and not-just-friend– she’s one of the most important people in my life, and it’s going to be really, really hard not to see her a couple of times every week. It’s going to be hard when one of us is having a bad day and I can’t say, “Hey, want me to get you from work? We can binge on tea and crafting!” My heart breaks over that one, no joke.

On the upside, I’m going to be focusing on grad school, training as a high school English teacher (in my old high school, no less), and living with my incredible boyfriend. And, while I have loved this city, it stopped feeling like home a while ago. When I got back from Ireland, really– I found a home there, and when I came back to Decatur, it had already begun to feel hollow and strange to me. Now, every time I visit my family up in the mountains, I hate coming back to the city at the end of the weekend. Yes, there’s magnificent Indian food, a multiethnic population, and nobody here cares that I’m queer or a witch. But in the mountains, there are mountains, roadside stands with fresh fruits and vegetables, and I’ll be close to my family, including my grandmother, which will be wonderful. I’ll be able to go home every night and see the man I love and actually get real sleep, because I can actually rest when he’s in the house. I’m going to have land of my own– land for gardens, for weird sculptures, for singing strange songs to the moon on cloudless nights. There will be endless expanses of stars. I’ll be five minutes from my parents’ land– including their standing stone circle and their lake where I can swim in the summer. I’ll have a proper kitchen. 

Dahlonega is a beautiful little town with a lot of character. Granted, much of that character is incredibly conservative, but there’s a niche folksy art scene and good music and a lot of good people tucked away between the white supremacists and the fundamentalist religious nuts. It’s a town that treated me pretty badly, I’m not going to lie– my life was endangered more than once in that high school because I was too fat, or too queer, or too dark (hard to believe after living in Atlanta, but I got more than one horrible kid asking me if my “daddy was a n***er), or too opinionated, or not Christian, and not ashamed of it– but it’s also the town that holds the Sanctuary I grew up on, that holds the coffee shop where I had my first real (and disastrous) date, the little town square I know like the back of my hand. I hope to work at that high school someday, to help other teenagers who are too loud or too quiet, weird or scared or awkward or faking it or whatever else find their way through words and books and writing, just like Ms. Whitt, Mr. Purdy, and Ms. Tripp-Smith did for me.

Anyone who knew me in high school is probably shocked I’m going back– I know that my high school best friend, Gilly, definitely was. But look. The reality is that being a teenager is hard and horrible and most of them were just echoing the crap their parents taught them as a way to establish their identity when they have no idea who they hell they are– a lot of the worst of them are good people now: people who, if I met them for the first time at this point, I would like. I was pretty horrible, too– I got a thick skin and became aggressive and loudmouthed as hell. It was a defense mechanism, sure– I got mean because I had to get mean or just cry all the time and never move– but explanations aren’t excuses. I was mean. I’d like to think I’m not mean anymore. There were a few years of pendulum-ing where I was too nice and then too mean and back and forth, but I think I’ve found my middle ground now, where I can stand up for myself and people I care about without standing ON other people. You know how it goes. It’s a process. We grow continually or we wither.

Regardless, I’m REALLY excited for the move. I can’t wait to be living with Bruce again, can’t wait to get up in the mornings and make tea in a proper kitchen, can’t wait to have a dishwasher again. God, a dishwasher. A washing machine! (My current apartment was built in the 40’s. It lacks some…modern amenities.)

So yeah. Then we come to the crafting, and, in turn, packing and the idea of hoarding.

At the start of October, there’s a festival called Hemlockfest held on my family’s land. You can google it; it’s open to the public and it’s pretty fun. I’m a vendor! I sell arts and crafts with my godsister, and my boyfriend sells delicious (non-GMO, sometimes GF or vegan) baked goods. There’s awesome folk music, tasty food, cool shops, good people, and a general fun time! I love vending. I make a decent bit of money to put aside for the winter (or, in this case, graduate school) and I get to have fun doing it. I get to craft a ton and sell my work to people who usually appreciate it!

The problem there is that I have to craft. Normally, not so much a problem. I LOVE crafting. However, I’m also moving the weekend before the festival. So I can box up a portion of my life, but the crafting portion is… not small. My friend and neighbor, Marie, pointed out to me that, at first glance, my apartment looks like it belongs to a hoarder. My boyfriend is a little more circumspect, usually just saying that I “have a lot of stuff.”

Well, yeah. Your options as a mixed-media crafter are either to collect old magazines, beads, paints, markers, pens, canvasses, boards, brushes, yarn, fiber, fabric, and other stuff and store them so they’re on hand when you want to craft, or…buy them all brand new every single time. So either you “hoard” or you spend a fortune every time you want to create something. These things don’t usually box up neatly– what do you do with the few hundred words and pictures you cut out of old Sage Woman magazines when you’re not decoupaging them onto sketchbooks and notebooks and jewelry boxes? How about the tissue paper scraps? Little end bits of yarn that you’ll turn into adorable scrap hats? If you’re me, you don’t have the money to buy a billion adorable matching bins at Target. You keep them in whatever you’ve got– shoeboxes, tupperware, a couple old tea tins, cardboard boxes, big ugly bins, whatever. And, when you ARE using them, they’re EVERYWHERE. Your friends love when you give them gifts! “Oh wow, how did you MAKE this, it’s so beautiful!” But then they come to your house and look askance at your piles of, well…crap. Because until it’s art, it’s just scraps of stuff. Everywhere. There are little scraps of paper and little rolled up bits of dried mod podge on everything you own. You are buried in a sea of craft detritus. But it leads to beautifully manifested pieces of art! It’s a worthwhile thing, this ocean of stuff. It’s not hoarding, it’s keeping the supplies you need on hand– you’re not just living amidst stacks of weird stuff out of an urge to keep it all, you’re making things. You’re making useful, beautiful things, and when you’re an artist professionally or even semi-professionally, you’re using them to make money.

This is sort of a concept at odds with the idea of tidily packing up all your possessions and moving them.

It’s being a tricky process. My current balance seems to be to pack until I’m tired and sweaty, then sit and craft until my eyes hurt and I need to move, then get up and pack some more– lather, rinse repeat. It’s sort of working, except that I don’t have enough hats to sell and my house is still a mess.

So, from under the chaos… hi, everybody. Happy Fall. ❤

Also, P.S., make sure you vote. For Hilary. Trump is a crazy person. Save us, please.

ALSO also, if you’re wondering what I craft? Some of the answers are below:

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