I realize that I’ve been doing everything wrong – – – I think in trying to do things “simply,” I’ve actually made everything more complicated & infinitely more difficult.
I live in the Ozarks. Wow. (and, after living in both Kansas & Kentucky, too, I realize that stereotypes are never really fair or accurate. unless you read the Craig’s List ads for singles in the Ozarks. but the local music is good.)
I live in a 106 year old house.
And I need a change.
Some of this is a rehash of the previous posts on my other blog, but upon returning to the house after being gone for a year:
I entered slowly. I looked carefully at everything. I was sad. I felt sad from the beginning. I felt like I was holding my breath. That house represents so many defeats. I was at my worst in that house. I feel like I was the worst version of mother, wife, daughter, professor, writer in that house. I feel sick and nauseous. I feel like there are stab wounds inside my chest.
Finally, after a slow turn of the downstairs – and a brief collapse on my sofa, the upholstery of which I continue to love (that photo of K in her bikini on that sofa) – I climb the stairs and begin my slow turn of the rooms upstairs. I surprise myself by still liking so much of the things there: the pillows, the bedspreads, the tapestries from India, the wood carvings from Jamaica, the basketry from Rwanda, the mudcloth from Mali, the masks from Guinea, the kangas from Tanzania. These are my experiences as things. These are my victories. These are my friends.
But I finally end up in the upstairs bathroom, where I look at myself carefully in the small medicine chest mirror above the pedestal sink, anchored in wood simulated pasteboard melting from water damage – – and I just began to cry. I remember all the nights, all the days, all the mornings, that I peered into that mirror, utterly alone while my small child slept in another room, and I was just so broken.
Ultimately, I know I can’t stay in that house.
If I’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s that one must make efforts to protect oneself from toxic relationships. One must invest in the healthy and freeze out the crazy.
Knowing this is powerful.
Somehow, being gone made me remember to be powerful again.
And so, what comes next:
But it begins the difficult process of shedding the house. Shedding the things of the house. Shedding the structural and institutional Masters who would keep me in that house, paying that mortgage, upkeeping that yard, killing myself to be a certain kind of citizen or person or whatever it is that we’re supposed to aspire to.
I feel shaky and alone.
I feel overwhelmed.
I want to run.
I called two realtors.
One is 70 years old, but looks much, much younger. She’s a runner. She loves plants. She loves social justice. She loves reading. I love her. She was blunt and frank and compassionate. She said hard things about the state of my home, and I felt so ashamed. But she also liked my location, my kitchen, my downstairs bathroom. She says it could be worse, but it’s likely we won’t get the money I owe the bank. She suggests a short sale, or foreclosure.
The other realtor is about my age. Well-groomed, vibrant, one of those effortlessly chic women. The kind who can wear a crisp sleeveless white blouse all day. She was nice, friendly, glittering with the diamonds and stones of success. Of affluence. Approachable now in a way she may not have been in high school when she was a popular girl. I wonder if being near her will allow me to contract some of her ease. Is it contagious? She also said hard things, but real things, and I know I need to listen. I felt guilty. She is more optimistic about a sale, but says that I will have to include a bunch of stuff like a warranty and an inspection and a bunch of other things that I wrote down but can’t recall.
How did it get like this?
I don’t know which one to go with. (In addition to the money I owe the bank, I have to pay the realtor a six percent commission on the house.)
Eventually, I choose a third realtor, who favors a lot of lipliner and cleavage, and enables me by swapping bad ex-husband stories.
In fact, I don’t think I can sell it. I expect that I will have to foreclose.
And that’s okay.
I was so paralyzed for so many years in that house. K’s dad loaded the whole house with so much of his shit, both literal and metaphorical, it is hard to shovel it out.
In fact, I might need to shovel it out.
In an effort to be more specific, I Google “Fireman Shovel Shirtless.” But instead, I got distracted by this:
Among the many things he has been storing in my house: longhorn antlers (?), birdcages of six or eight different dimensions, a meat saw. There are piles of rubbish in the basement, in the side yard. A formerly leather chair that cracks open and reveals bugs crawling around in its damp interior. Broken hulls of bicycles, wagons, car parts.
I must take blame, too, for the hundred or so pots and planters that scatter the side yard, the porch. For the broken birdhouses and windchimes with missing bongers and knotted strings. For the times I looked the other way and let the shit pile up. For the times I didn’t even realize it was piling up.
I need an intervention.
I need a firestarter.
here are some sketchy notes on my next topic, but i have to go get my hot yoga on and this blog thing is taking up all my time today. plus, i had to drink a lot of coffee and bitch about my job today.
Looking for an apartment:
I want a soulless, sterile, immaculately clean apartment with white walls and cream carpets and granite counters and huge closets and high ceilings and windows that don’t rattle when you walk across the floor. i do not want to rent a house. I want nothing to do with an older home. I do not want character, or soul, or integrity in any other place I live. I cannot maintain it, and the effort turns me to desperation and sadness. I am a Taurus who can’t nest properly. I want luxury. I want ease. I want comfort. I want mercy.
I Googled “luxury apartments My Town.”
(I also added “shirtless.” I’m trashy that way.)
And I went to visit the most obnoxious looking ones.
The first one I went to was at the country club. At the brown golf course, full of dead grass in this merciless summer of my return. The clubhouse is festooned in tasteful neutrals and subtle animal prints and tall feathery flower arrangements in monumental vases perched on dark wood credenzas like HGTV on Midwestern crack.
must go get my yoga on.