I like to walk around naked, windows open, bare skin feeling the breeze, breasts uninhibited, and booty comfortable without fear. I like my kitchen clean, dishes scrubbed just right, counters wiped down, pots in the cupboard, and garbage taken out. I like my bathroom spick and span, no hair in the drain, toilet always flushed, products neatly stacked, and mirrors shiny enough to make any reflection smile. I like my home quiet, when I just want to bathe in silence, digest the words of some brilliant author, meditate in my thoughts, or people watch from my window. I like it loud, when I want to play a jazz song, let delicious hip-hop lyrics roll off my tongue, sing my rendition of a beautiful love ballad, or make love to a lover without sound restrictions. I like living, my way, and now, more than ever, I’m ready for freedom, independence, responsibility, and a place of my own.

For the last four years, I’ve lived with incredible people who have inspired my growth as a woman, partner, and human being. Some were strangers, others friends, but each of my roommates have taught me valuable lessons for letting patience trump temper, joy deplete frustration, gratitude overwhelm selfishness, and sensitivity battle egoism. I’ve grown through cat poop outside my bedroom door, days old dirty dishes stinking up the entire kitchen, poop-rusted toilets, and drunken vomiting sounds interrupting my dreams. I’ve held my tongue, rarely argued, kept to myself, and prayed that one day I could protect my personal space: a place that I could call my own.

There comes a time in every woman’s life that living alone is a must versus a preference. And while I’ve battled this reality, I’ve finally decided to honor it and find my home. Less than two months ago, I moved to Salvador, Brazil to start a new life, away from New York, close enough to the ocean, and devoid of stress. On this life-changing trip, I encountered possibility, the opportunity to live as a full-time artist, write for passion, strengthen my interests, and shed any doubts that I held about “making it” as a writer. I’ve learned that it is possible live fully, eat well, travel afar, and afford a place of my own in the middle of paradise. And now that I’m here, I am happy and boundless. Incredible roommates aside, the time to move is now.

I am strong enough and open to the lessons that come with living solo. I’ve encountered myself, vulnerable and candid. And I’ve found the liberation that comes with leaving your friends, family, and the familiar to experience something of your own. My new home is an extension of that freeing discovery, and thus, my life has become a physical manifestation of one door closing while another opens.

Are you living with your parents, roommates, or a significant other but never had the opportunity to live on your own? If you had it your way, would you prefer to live alone or do you enjoy the company of others in your home? Speak on it!

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