I moved into my new place almost a month ago. It is taking some getting used to; new tax bracket, new, “better”, neighborhood, unabashedly quiet neighbors, and the perks of being surrounded by bushes and trees…1.
What I want to talk about is that what is considered better just may not be.
Better in what context?
I have lived in broken down, poor neighborhoods since I stepped out on my own 18 years ago. Not all of them I was fond of. But the last one, the one I moved to last year when coming back here from Pittsburgh, that one was magnificent.
In these types of environments, you get used to the loudness of the voices, the blaring music on a Friday night after someone gets off of work at their grueling 9-5, the smokers hanging outside texting on their cheap smartphones. This gives these places life; these places are living, breathing, manifestations of humanity, of struggle and triumph, of just people doing their best to get by.
I spent the last 18 years of my life trying to get by, going hungry most nights2, taking out school loans so I could pay my rent, buy computers to code on, and eat.
I’ve been disabled my entire life, with what I will not discuss. But getting a check every month is some type of stability and most of us in those neighborhoods scraped by but we could still count on that check, even if it wasn’t enough to live on. I felt home there. It was what I was used to. I was a young person when I moved out on my own, barely in my 20s. That life was all I’d ever known from my 20s until this year.
And while I grew up in a middle class family with upper middle-class extended family, I didn’t benefit from any of that for more reasons I will not talk about here.
People talk about some place being ghetto or you live in the hood but the people who say these things have never had to live off $10,000 a year3 and have no idea about why the places they are disparaging are the way they are.
Not being ghetto or hood is better. Not to me. Those folks were real af. And I miss them.
Taking in the new reality
The new reality for me is I am in a quiet neighborhood of affordable luxury apartments with homes I can aspire to rent with a couple raises4.
I have more money than all my local friends.
I have more money than some of my family.
I finally have savings.
I can actually eat well and exercise.
I can afford to buy a new iPhone and Apple Watch.
I make enough money that next year my tax refund will be the largest I’ve ever received and I will probably buy an iMac Pro.
This is all so unreal. Still.
I wouldn’t trade those things for all the fame and notoriety in the world.
Just a random video I took.
My favorite space…
Not for about a week now, but I’ve killed: beetles, crickets, big ass spiders that should not be so hard and fast and should also not exist my god, three stinkbugs, and a moth. Lots of these things. The baseboards in the living area are not flush with the hardwood so I am buying Ortho Home Defense. ↩
I used to have to conserve every bit of food. I still have this mindset. It is difficult to realize you can go to the store tomorrow if you need more food because you have savings and money in the bank. ↩
That’s all I had last year. ↩
$1700/mo. Lulz ↩