Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Room Of One's Own

I have lived with men my entire adult life, since the age of 17.  I'm now 57. In that time, including raising two kids I have never had an entire room I could call my own. I recently saw, in a DIY magazine, how a woman could build a small shelf area in the kitchen for her laptop with equally small book shelves above it.  I've had many spaces within rooms that I shared with LOTS of other people. This means that whatever was on my desk was considered open to be used by anyone.  Clothes, makeup, books, papers, felt like the more important the thing was to me the more likely it would be taken without my permission. At one point my then husband made a beautiful little box just large enough to hold small things that mattered with a lock. The problem of space created many many screaming arguments in my home.

My children grew up and moved out.  I divorced my starter husband and moved on to husband number two - who I've been happily married to for 13 years. Somewhere in my many rambling blogs I may have mentioned that after my last hospitalization I was forced to move our bed into the living room so I didn't have to walk up and down the stairs constantly.  While I was in the hospital my wonderful son (its great when you finally reconcile with your adult children and they forgive all your parental mistakes.)  I'm saying this somewhat with tongue in cheek. He, my daughter-in-law and a friends son moved everything from the bedroom into the living room. I put my sleeper sofa out in front of my house with a sign saying FREE and it was gone in 1 hour!  At first I was really depressed. Only old really sick people slept in their living rooms. To be honest although I've lived in my house for over 25 years I've never liked it and at times have hated it. It has memories that make me want to run screaming into the night. I didn't put much energy into repairs,  upgrades, whatever. I hated the house and I let the house know it.  In retrospect I see now it totally reflected my depressed moods.

I never understood the whole feng shui thing. You put a chair down where it works best for you and that's that. But some massive kind of energy changed when we moved the bed into the living room. It started when I turned our former bedroom into a quilt studio.  I've been a quilter since childhood, being sent every summer to an older woman who would teach me various sewing technique including quilting, crocheting, knitting and even something called tatting.  I learned to stories of how quilts helped guide slaves to and through the underground railroad.  I had shelves and shelves of fabric, fabric in boxes, fabric stashed in closets. Suddenly I could put it all in one place. My sewing table, my cutting table and ironing space, the 100+ quilt books, I was able to bring everything, every ruler and template together.  I was able to raise the blinds all the way up which I could never do when it was a bedroom. Naked and open window don't work well together. I HAD A ROOM OF MY OWN!!!  Virgina Woolf was right. OK so it took me a very long time to get here and I don't have the money she said should go with the room but I now have TWO rooms. The small room across the hall has always been the "throw it in there and we'll deal with it later" room. A massive treadmill took up most of the room.  I used it as a clothes hanger.  It worked fine I just never used it.  Suddenly the cleaning woman asked if she  could have it and my only price was she had to get someone to take it away. It was gone in three days and there was this wonderful small space across the hall from the quilt room. I was able to move all my paperwork, bills and everything else that I felt was negatively effecting the quilt space into the little room.  I get the feng shui thing now. 

As my mood improved it seemed the rooms got lighter, brighter. I usually hate people who say things like this.  I consider them wimps who refuse to face the realities of life.  Life is bleak and the universe is just waiting to slam you when you least expect it. So you can imagine how odd I find these warm, fuzzy feelings.  Its just not me. Although it feels great I live in terror of these feelings just stopping when I adjust to all the anti-deps.  So to protect myself I figure the best thing to do is to keep the basic darkness inside me going.  This blog post started out talking about the gift of space.  The bottom line is my husband said he only needs enough space to sit with his lap top and he really means it.  Even after I dragged him all over the house demanding he tell me if this or that corner really mattered to him.  We've been married 13 years so I figure I'm totally free to bring out the crazy now and then.  He's helped me lug and lift boxes, tables, chairs to rearrange the rooms.  Since neither of us have particularly good backs its been a slow undertaking but we've finally moved everything around to where we want it.  Well to where "i" want it.  I'm off to do a bit of quilting.  After all its only 11pm.  Thanks for reading.

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