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Oh Sentimentalism, My Old Friend

Shoes are stacked. 
Boxes overflow with scribbled papers and picture frames and unused notebooks.

As the walls become more and more bare, as I strip away more and more memories and trinkets, my heart starts to kick in. It tempts me to become frantic, to flail and fight the impending change. 
As buckets of clothes and piles of magazines are packed away, as buttons and hair ribbons and dried flowers are wrapped, my brain invites me to breath a little easier. The shock of blank space is almost more a regret than a sadness. Why did I feel the need to line every wall and fill every corner with some material thing? Sure, that wrapping paper came from Italy, and yes, I might use that pack of pencils one day. But what good does it do sitting there until I do?
I walk a fine line of cloying nostalgia and regretful purging. Although really, when was the last time I ever regretted getting rid of something? I couldn't tell you. Mostly because I have a horrible memory, so I can't even recall what it is I've expelled from my grasp. But doesn't that speak to its importance, whatever it may have been? If I can't even remember what it is then surely it was not important enough to keep.
I always think of the Emily Gilmore in these instances, holding up a sequin gown and then, with blase finality, tossing it aside.
"It doesn't bring me joy," she says, dismissive. 

This room has been witness to some of my most genuinely joyful moments. It has seen, without a doubt, my very darkest nights. It has hosted my mother and my best friends. It has provided quiet asylum for me to write the stories and essays that are my biggest achievements so far. 
The very best thing about this room?
The fact that it is one small part of a very big house with many, many girls. 
This was the very reason I was so skeptical moving in two years ago. Eleven girls in one house is clearly too many, and while legally that's true, it only took a few months for the Lighthouse community to work its magic. Now, after two years of movie nights and a microwave constantly producing popcorn and folding someone else's laundry with love and grace, living with just one other person will be a bit of an odd adjustment. Originally, this living situation was not my ideal, and to this day I bitch and moan about dirty dishes and dirty floors and dirty refrigerator drawers. But this community of girls has become my home base. They have loved me and cheered me on. They have made me laugh so hard that my sides scream. Mostly they've enabled my popcorn habit, and assured that I got a full movie education. When girls I don't know approach me at work and ask if I live in the Lighthouse, not only do I feel pretty cool for being recognized, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be part of such a special place.
I have faith that the Lighthouse will continue to be the Lighthouse as long as there are kind, loving, welcoming girls that want to be a part of a whole. If I, the introverted, cynical, judgmental hermit can be converted, then it must truly be a wonderful thing. I know that I will recount my years here fondly. I will remember every roommate and dance party, and how it felt to be curled up together on the couch, legs tangled and blankets shared.
It's hard enough leaving Lawrence, this little town that shaped me and raised me and taught me what good coffee and loving community is. It's entirely another to relinquish the key to the place I've called home for the past two years. Odd that a hunk of metal can carry so much more than a simple entry.

Until we meet again, 930 Ohio Street.
(probably this week because I still can't handle it)

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