My Apartment: A Commitment Story.



All I’ve ever done was move. As a matter of fact, I’ve never consistently lived in any one place for more than 5 years at a stretch. Moving was so much of a regular occurrence for me that when I got older, I didn’t think twice about bouncing around. It wasn’t until I got much older that I began to think; how has this affected me?

After a couple years of soul searching (I guess) and growth, I realized that moving around so much is probably attributable to my fear of commitment. I never would have guessed that I, of all people, would be a commitment-phobe. So I began analyzing myself. Yes, I was always in a monogamous, commited relationship for the most part. But these were very SHORT relationships in comparison to those of others. I was always leaving somebody, always forgetting somebody. I still never would have thought it was because of commitment issues. I know that isn’t the full reason, but it surely plays a factor. I don’t even stay at jobs. I’ve had so many different jobs since I started working over a decade ago. My current job is the longest job I’ve held and I’m happy to say it’s a career, not a job. Maybe that’s the difference? (Note: I ended up leaving that job too…)

I’ve also noticed that I hate any type of contract. Cell phone contracts, automatic debits from my bank account and even pending transactions, scare me. When I split from my ex, I had to get a new cell phone line. It took all of the courage I could muster to go into T-Mobile and sign up for a two-year contract. It was then that I realized that I truly had a problem. This two-year contract was the beginning of my commitment to commiting. Does that make sense?

I went apartment hunting a year later and I managed to find a place with a desired layout and the most bang for my buck. It wasn’t the fanciest place, but it was cozy and full of sunlight. It required a two-year lease AND automatic rent debit from my bank account. My stomach had that sinking feeling and my body grew hot. I swear I was going through the fight or flight response. I felt threatened. Now, part of this was my being crazy but the other part of it was perfectly sensible. People I knew were like, “What? Auto-pay? Who does that?” But I needed a place to live so I worked out a plan. Instead of having my rent pull from the account I use for my daily transactions, I would open an account solely for my rent debits. I already had a savings account at a different bank than my checking account, so I just opened a checking account with them too. When I explained to the banker what it was that I was doing, she was incredulous and asked me if I was sure. The way the lease was laid out, it would be bad if I didn’t do it. Plus, I wouldn’t pay my rent on time if I had to mail a check anyway. They gave me checks and I set up direct deposit in the amount of my rent payments.

That was over 5 years ago. All of my bills are in my name; not my momma’s name and not my kids’ names. I’ve never had an issue on either end with my auto-debited rent. I’m OK. I could still use an EBT card though. (Who got the hook-up?)

What I learned about commitment is that it’s not a chain because you’ve agreed to do it. It was a want or a necessity and because of that, it can feel like a very freeing experience. I’m definitely not cured of my commitment issues, for example, I still need to repair things in the love sector, but I’m working on it. (And am pleased to say that I’m doing much, much better.)


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