As I write this, I'm in the process of trying to buy a house. Near the end of last year, I had the idea to buy a vacant space or warehouse in either Midtown or downtown and convert it into a living space/art studio, but as I discovered, even finding those places was a challenge, so I shuddered to think about how difficult the actual buying process would be.
So even though I held onto that dream for a while, and even had my eye on a possible space, I eventually realized that it was probably more time, effort and mullah than I could afford. Naturally, the next step is to look into buying a house, right?
I've toyed with that idea ever since I moved into my apartment. I mean, I love where I live, but I take up too much space for a 650-square-feet studio-ish apartment. I'm an unapologetic hoarder and packrat (I still have lots of old notebooks from middle and high school), and I'm also someone who has a lot of really big ideas and can't stand it when my creativity is stifled.
I mean, I've done a lot of really great work in my current place of residence, but I'm ready for bigger canvases and bolder colors. I've spent much of the last two years figuring out who I am and who I want to be, and now, it's time to claim a space just for me. No one else's rules, no rental agreements with too many stipulations, no landlords looking over my shoulder.
Owning a house is an intoxicating thought, which the house-buying process itself (who made it this complicated?) and my own fear of falling flat on my face only bring down a little.
Even through the excitement, I've tried not to get my hopes up. Things happen. The house may not appraise for the right amount. There could be a snag with the loan application. I hope none of those things happen, but you never know, right? I've tried to keep myself in check and not get too hopeful. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't done until closing.
For me, owning my space might mean owning my own house. But taking ownership is also something we should all practice in general. Owning your space might mean owning what you do, owning up to your life, your mistakes, your skeletons in the closet. It might mean having the courage to say what you want and need, others be damned. It might mean standing up for what you believe in.
Right now, I think what we need is to own our spaces, to not apologize for talking too loudly or laughing too much, to not feel like we have to apologize for being ourselves or speaking out for what we believe is right or feeling bad for how we look. It is not always easy, especially in a society that never seems to stop talking. But it's important.
In general, Jacksonians have the privilege of living in this progressive bubble, but sometimes, it seems like too many people would rather be the needle. The city is running out of money; potholes never seem to go away; Jackson Public Schools are still underfunded; people talk more about the crimes that happen than a way to get them to stop.
But we have hope, and the hope comes in the idea of owning our spaces. Citizens of Jackson need to make use of our gifts, hone our crafts and lift our voices.
I think that if any group of people can save Mississippi, it's going to be us. It's going to be the people who work and live and play and create right here in the capital city.
<em>Managing Editor Amber Helsel is a demolitions expert and the Demon Lady of Food. She's also a Gemini who likes adventures, art, food, music, cats and anime. Email story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.</em>