I’ve lived in rad and unusual houses since 2006.  First was houseboats - I bought my first when I was 27, moved aboard my second when I was 33.  Houseboats are cool and romantic, especially when they’re moored - as mine have been - in St. Paul, Minnesota where the winters are among the worst on the planet.  Six months out of the year it is all hammocks and high-fives - and the rest is an ice-circus of hauling water, shoveling decks, pumping sewage and praying neither you, nor your dog, nor your car keys plummet under the surface.  You shower at the gym.  You ice-skate off the bow.  You’re a River Rat.  


Friends and acquaintances loved it nearly as much as I did… more perhaps because they had the luxury of being able to enjoy only the pleasant parts.  Boat rides and deck parties and when they visited in the winter, the heat was blasting and the whiskey was strong. 

In 2014, when my husband and I moved into a vintage RV and drove to California, we joked it was a lot like living on a boat, but with less threat of drowning.  Endless summer parked under palm trees has it’s undeniable benefits but there is still sewage to pump, propane to haul, drains to pull. …and still I pack my shampoo and razor and walk to the community shower, as I find the petit closet-shower in the RV less than satisfactory.  Trailer Trash, through an through.  


All the same, it’s a cool and romantic way to live.  There is something especially dreamy about having an offbeat house that can take you to the mountains at your whim - or the first hint of the zombie apocalypse.  

So what’s the point? Why I’m I babbling about this now… because we made an offer on a condo last week, the seller accepted - and it looks like I’m going to live in a conventional, grown-up house for the first time in over a decade.  Also I’m 4.5 months pregnant and every damn thing in my life is about to look, feel, and smell entirely different.  Which is fucking great - it’s all great news - developments I have wanted and worked for, and for which I am overjoyed and yet…

… you, Dear Reader, you probably already get it.  That elusive thing I’m feeling.   Simultaneous delight over ‘forward’ progress and lament over the ‘end of an era.’  Change is hard and shifting landscapes are frightening and our identities are tied up in the things around us in ways that can prove surprising.  I’m not alone in occasionally mistaking the things around me as ’Me’.  When I quit smoking I wondered - could I be me without holding a cigarette.  When I lost weight I wondered what would happen to the camaraderie I felt with the other ‘big girls’.  Didn’t we sort of vow to one another that we’d NEVER RUN?!?  I’ve heard and seen it in others too - a sense that the ‘they' that is ‘them’ exists in a job, or a hair color, or a relationship or a state of the union.


When I wake up for the first time in my new condo and take a shower in my (one of two, holy shit) bathrooms and sip my coffee on the patio that overlooks (gasp) Sherman Oaks… will I still be me?  When I push my stroller down trendy Ventura Blvd and make my first playdate for my toddler, will I recognize myself?  

The fact is, probably both yes and no.  I’ll still be fundamentally me in the same way that I am - at heart - the same person I was in 3rd grade when I punched a kid for throwing rocks at the bat taking shelter under our school’s awning.  And no, in the same way that I don’t resemble the 22 year old me who said she could ‘never do stand-up’.  

And still there is a more-wrinkled, white-haired me yet further down this same path who will someday look at her adult child thinking how silly I was when I was, as I am today, rubbing my belly and worrying about diapers.  I’ll likely cluck with some earned condescension at the naive not-yet-40-year old who had thought her best days were behind her… what a fool.  

I’m still not sure what the ultimate point is, so suffice to say this:  I don’t think the question ought ever be ‘who am I’ but ‘who am I now?’ and ‘who shall I become?’  I’m not ashamed of my anxiety of change and the future coming - it’s fucking scary - but nor will I hit pause on a presumed perfection… or delude myself in believing such a pause button exists.  

I strive to be the even more-more-wrinkled, whiter-white-haired lady who stretches her skin to show her tattoos and has more stories than she can recall - or that you would ever believe.

So.  Here we go and here’s to what is next.

See you there. 

Dawn Brodey-64




  dawnbrodey@gmail.com  © Dawn Brodey 2012