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Let me tell you a -somewhat gross- story.

March 5, 2024

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Back in my early 20’s when I was in university I found this tiny apartment near school for $1100 CAD dollars..

I found a roommate and each of us would pay a little over $400usd so you can imagine this wasn’t the nicest of spots (nor the most generous of landlords)

I used to travel to Europe a lot back then so my apartment was more of a “transition” space where I got to keep my stuff.

One day after a couple of months away I came back to see a nasty black stain near the shower head and spreading down the wall.

It was mold.

I contacted my landlord (which didn’t even speak English) so every message was poorly mediated by his real estate agent.

I told him “There’s mold in the bathroom, can you please take care of it?”

*crikets chirping*

I waited and waited until I decided I would pay it from my pocket and deduct it from the next few months’ rent.

I called a few friends and within a day we had a young colombian guy and his father coming to check the bathroom.

They looked and said “wow! you’ve been living here.. this is actually dangerous..

“We can fix it.. but the mold is probably due to a leaking pipe behind the wall, or at the very least it’s infested the whole wall so we’ll have to break it all down and do it again.

We need to redo most of your bathroom.”

I asked how much..

He said he could do it for $1k since I was a young Colombian kid..

I thought it was super fair and texted my landlord:

“Got a contractor to come in and assess the damage, the wall needs to be torn down and rebuilt, it will be $1k. Please let me know if you want to pay directly or whether you want me to deduct it from the next couple of month’s rent.”

NOW I got an instant response:

“I will send my guy tomorrow.”

Next day this short asian guy knocks at the door, he was very polite and spoke very little English.

He went inside the bathroom and stayed there for 45-60 minutes then came out and said: “$60 dollars! you pay. landlord pay you back!”

I was surprised and paid him.. (big mistake, I should’ve checked first)

When I go into the bathroom..

The mold was GONE..

It all looked like new.

BRAND NEW.

Nobody could tell..

Unless they touched the fresh white paint on the walls that is.

He had literally just painted on top of mold.

“If I close my eyes and pretend my house isn’t on fire, it will all be okay!”

Needless to say we had a few disputes, differences in how we saw things and I eventually moved out..

Now, this isn’t a post about cheap landlords or leaking pipes.

This story is a mirror to the state of most romantic relationships.

If only we throw a couple of cool photos on instagram,

a brief getaway, a nice dinner, a new car, a new dress, a new house..

a couple of children and half-assed vacations..

maybe some booze, junk food or substances to make up for the inherent lack of aliveness and romance..

“If we only throw enough activities and future plans to it..”

Hopefully we will forget there’s something rotting underneath it.

Most people try to paint over mold in their romantic relationships..

They are in constant distress, disconnection and fighting

and they imagine that a bit of sex, nature or distractions will solve the thing.

“Perhaps if I do enough yoga or consume enough psychedelics, I will feel good enough to forget I have relational issues to begin with..”

That’s been me in the past..

I’m guilty of all charges!

Hiding behind a crooked spiritual narrative..

Hoping that if only I manage to feel good by myself, every problem will go away..

But no matter how hard I closed my eyes..

Or how positive I remained..

It took me a lot of grief and pain to realize that when the house is on fire, the house is on fire.

And you MUST tend to it with practical tools.

Same goes for relationships..

When they’re under stress, everything becomes a distraction until the source of the distress is directly AND vulnerably addressed.

Something we were never taught how to do so we just don’t do it.

We saw our parents painting over mold..

and presumed it was all fine..

But deep inside we knew.

We really knew.

Let us stop painting over mold,

And let us understand that to REALLY fix something we may first have to tear it apart..

And that is okay.

Being positive is a way of coping when we lack the tools, awareness or courage to come face to face with reality.