• Jaye Gaff

A Love Letter to a Shitty Studio Apartment



I moved in with Husband when I was 19. We both knew what it was -- we weren't ready to live together but I need out from my mother's house. It was that or death -- no exaggeration. If I had to spend another day living with her I would have killed myself.


So I moved into his shitty studio apartment that was in a complex full of shitty residents. We were in a suburb full of harassment. I was followed to the train station. Chased. Sexually harassed. Terrorised. But, man, did I love that shitty apartment.


It was the smallest studio. No space for a proper fridge. The hallway flooded and they never replaced the carpet. Infested with bugs. Smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night. Neighbours who abused each other with vicious fights that ended in glass smashing and, one time, a dead goldfish in the hallway. It was shitty. I would never want my child to live there. But when we were inside and all the doors were locked and it was just us... it was the best time of my life.


And now, 12 years later, I still think of it fondly and it finally hit me the other day why.


It was the first house I lived in where I felt safe. Where my head was allowed to rest. I was away from my family and it was the perfect escape. I loved it there for what it allowed me to leave behind.


And, yes, sure, you couldn't leave the back door open for some fresh air without your stuff getting stolen. And, sure, it was so humid in there you couldn't sleep. And there wasn't room for a couch and a table. But it was home. And it was my first home.


We've since moved on but no house has compared to that very first one. My safety. My sanctuary. The first time I got to heal from the trauma of living with my mother and father.



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