The room has the perfect amount of sunlight flooding into it. It’s that yellowy silver morning sun that warms you up just enough but not too much.
Somehow the air feels light. The floorboards are cool, smooth with age. And that beautiful Atlantic seascape is right outside these bay windows, just on the other side of the deck.
Inside: my couch, my desk. Bookcases. Not one dusty book. White walls. Not one grimy baseboard. A clean but antiqued mantel borders a clean and white-bricked fireplace. This is the f-ing spot! This is my room.
Lord knows what’s in the rest of the house.
I can imagine this space. When I put myself there, my chest eases up a bit. I’m not so panicked about whatever it is I happen to be panicked about.
But this room has doors. And in rush so many folks. Folks with determination and gusto, who have all sorts of ideas about how I should be spending my time and how useless this simply gorgeous room really is.
There’s been an ache in me for a while now. An aching to just be left to cherish this room. Not left alone by friends or family (or my wonderful DVD box set collection…okay the library’s wonderful DVD box set collection), but to be left alone by these unexpected (internal) house guests. Actually, they’re not that unexpected. Isn’t it that the whole deal? I so expect these visitors, that it feels like they’re actually taking up residence, part of the foundation.
The other day as I tried to shoo the Critique, the Fuck-It Master, the Doom&Gloomer from my mind, I realized that there was yet one more voice creeping up, keeping me from snuggling into the safe little room on the ocean: The Guilt-inator. I felt guilty for easing up on myself.
This ache within me? Well, I’ve been ignoring it. I’ve been shooing it out of my mind, leaving me – to run with this metaphor even more – in the basement of my emotional homebase. The Guilt-inator had me pegged: I wanted to ease up on myself, to nourish myself, and there was no way that was going to happen without her coming along for the ride.
There’s this innate equation that has way too much brain time in my head:
nourishing = easing up = guilt = bad girl
But that’s not true.
So what does it take to stay in this room and clean up after these messy peeps? It takes balls, first of all. But it also takes compassion.
All of the time I have to talk myself into taking care of myself; I have to coach myself through it. I know taking out the trash is really annoying, but it’s part of your grown-up duties. I know stopping this binge cycle is really scary, but it’s part of your grown-up responsibility to yourself.
I wade through the muddled up messages that all those other parts are throwing at me. But even still, I sometimes look around and am not so sure this seaside room is right for me anyway.
But I allow the uncertainty.
I remember that I can always paint and scrounge around for new furniture. But that doesn’t mean I should give up on this room. Uncertainty is part of the package, part of the wonder. And no matter who comes over with however many muddy feet and angry check-lists and whistles, I’ve gotta listen and then politely (or not so politely) get them the F out. I can clean up messes. I can stand my ground, with love and ambiguous/scary/panicky faith in myself.
Oh, and Pit of Despair Penny's outback. I'm trying to grow some flowers around her :)