Creating a sense of ownership in a home I don’t like

Guestpost by Liora K on Jan 24th

There are many many people who enjoy living in developments and gated communities. They really love the neat and tidy look, where everything yells "clean!", "fresh!", and "friendly neighbors who take care of their lawns and or sand yards!."

I am not a gated-community lover. Where some people see neat, tidy, clean, and fresh, I see suffocating sameness. Where some people see safe community outside the reaches of city life, I see bizarre planned suburbia far far away from everyone else (ideal in zombie apocalypse, not so much for everyday life). Some people like rules; I like being able to park on the street overnight.

Despite all of this, I live in one with my boyfriend (slash landlord), our roommate and good friend, our new betta fish (Billy!), and the frequent weekend guest. I love the people I live with, but driving into our neighborhood is a soul-suck. I get jealously weepy over our friends' homes in neighborhoods filled with character and smaller two-bedroom retro houses close to "everything."

While it's obviously very difficult to complain about anything when faced with reality (internal voice yelling: you have a loving boyfriend, great friends, two fantastic jobs, and you have a nice place to live! What is WRONG with you?!) it's still been an adjustment to find yourself living a lifestyle you never PLANNED to buy into.

Photo by azmeen, used under Creative Commons license.

So instead of just TELLING myself I HAVE to like it or I'm a crazy selfish person, I've tried to figure out a way I can feel more like I belong here instead of feeling like a bright red gecko on a lime green sheet of paper.

The previous owners left their mark all over the house in the form of paint jobs, and billions of nails. They had real ownership over the place and it's obvious! From moving so much I don't have a lot of personal things that I can put up, and most of what's around are my boyfriend's things and a lot of wall space. Even though I've been living there for almost seven months, the house still seems to belong more to the gated community and the previous owners than it does to me.

Which brings me to my plan of attack: A paint job in the bedroom. Things put up on the walls. His comforter swapped for my old one. And PRESTO. It's a room I want to live in, that I belong in, that has nothing to do with the previous owners or the gated community. Taking ownership over this house, pushing to change little things and big things, make them our own, is going to be an important step in settling in. It's not a forever solution for me (I can't paint my door bright yellow? Why not!?), but it only needs to last for a few years until we can choose a new place together that lets both of us be us, and happy inside the house and out. Cars on the street and all.

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About Liora K

Liora is a southwest gallerista and photographer with a back-east mind. She doesn't like cactus so much, but does love a good bowl of pho.