Today I bought my first house all on my own, as a single, female artist, with money earned from my creative practice, and saved over a decade. Moving to a new home is a time of abundance, with many opportunities for joy and sorrow.
In 1929, “A Room of One’s Own” was Virginia Woolf’s call for women to be educated and to claim space for their voices, their visions and their power as creators, citizens and leaders. Virginia was a contemporary of my grandmother’s era. Today I have SIX rooms of my own plus a kitchen and two bathrooms!
They say owning your own home is a first step to building wealth, which isn’t as easy for women and people of color. I’m proud of my accomplishment and relieved that the process of choosing and actually buying a home is done. Buying a home on my own, has been one of the most difficult and stressful events of my life. As I write this I still have to pack and move across the country (to Cincinnati, OH), but at least the house is mine. The decision has been made and the deal is done.
I am deeply sad about moving away from the San Francisco Bay Area where I’ve lived for a decade. It was my dream to live out west and I have made a lot of very close friends here. I would have liked to have bought a house here but real estate is unaffordable for working class and even professionals with low and moderate incomes. I had to choose between staying in Oakland or buying a home in a more affordable city.
Ultimately I was unable to make a decision on a city or a house until I came to terms with the deep sorrow I was feeling about leaving the Bay Area. As soon as I was able to accept the reality of the loss and that there was no way out of experiencing my sorrow fully, I was able to make a decision on a house. It didn’t make the experience of sorrow any easier. Sorrow is sorrow, but reckoning with deep sorrow, the kind that reaches to your roots, leads to transformation.
Indecision, I learned, is a way to avoid commitment and thus feeling the uncomfortable emotions that come with loss. Whenever a decision is made something is lost, a pathway or door is closed, even as new possibilities arise. Understanding the connection between my indecision and fear of commitment to my fear of experiencing the uncomfortable and messy feelings of loss was profound.
This new understanding and the life experience of choosing, buying, and moving my home, will impact my creative process. My students know I am a proponent of making one commitment at a time. Soon I will be in a completely new city, community, and ecosystem. Everything will be new — a new home, new friends, new inspiration, new challenges, new adventures, beginners mind, yes and…
PS… I’m excited to announce that my new home base will be in Cincinnati, Ohio, beginning January 2019. If you are interested in having me speak or teach in your community contact me with recommendations, or for information on my fees and availability. I am currently booking events for 2019 through 2020.