For over a year and a half, the separate worlds of our work, home, school, and social lives have folded in on each other. The ramifications of this have yet to be fully felt much less addressed.
Shrinking social circles, delayed education, a lack of communal grieving, financial instability, and the challenging transition of working from home, may vary by individual but they are shared societal struggles. Added to these are our particular personal challenges that the pandemic has stressed.
I struggle with intimate relationships. I always have. My first real fully realized relationship did not occur until my mid-twenties. And there remained firm lines of separation I kept in place. Over time I started to get outside feedback on a specific line.
“Why don’t you live with your partner?”
People would ask the question out of genuine confusion more than judgment. Especially at around the seven-year mark. I was now in my thirties, had been in a relationship for almost a decade. And I was living in one of the most expensive cities in North America. The practicality of the last point was enough to make people wonder. My want for my own space was coming at a steep cost. Ultimately, it was the selling of the apartment complex I was living in to a developer, and the seemingly inevitable renoviction, that nudged me into a shared living space.
And I was so lucky, I had someone willing to rearrange their limited square footage to accommodate me and everything that came with me. An absurd amount of books, a gorgeous but oversized vintage three-piece sectional, an obsessive tendency to hold onto knick-knacks due to sentimentality (I have a bottle of dried nail polish a homeless man gave me in Paris after declaring my smile lit up the sky…from when I was a teenager…because feelings).
It was not me making the physical space, but I felt I was surrendering some psychological territory, allowing vulnerability in.
Eventually, we decided to move into the upstairs unit of our strata together because it had a better layout. This would be our place.
And then the pandemic hit.
My partner ended up with the longer, more uncertain layoff (he cooks at the convention centre, there is…