Been thinking a lot about home. What it is, where it is, what makes it a home.
And I have come to the conclusion that it is a very fine line between having enough space to do what you feel like, and having things around you that make it your own.
Of course, the most basic thing – the people who share your home (socially or otherwise) affect the dynamic in obvious ways, and home is not home without some of them, but when a room is quiet, what is it that makes it yours? What is it that makes you feel peaceful and centred?
I’ve been asking this because in the last few weeks there has been a flurry of activity around here. Clearing the house, in preparation for sale etc. And one day in particular shook me to the core.
There is a solid brick room in the corner of our yard. It was one of the things that appealed to me most about this house. It was obviously well suited to the purpose of studio and quickly filled with lawnmowers, boxes, detritus of life to be sorted at some later stage. Refuse of value (so we thought) that should be stored to let us have more space in the house. The house that filled over the years with refuse of value to be used one day when we would be grateful for having held on to this or that. So much that it was congesting our lives and crowding us body & soul. A fact I have only come to realise since it has (for the most part) left.
The room was emptied. Completely. All over the back lawn, while the room and roof was painted white by two lovely gentlemen.
I have to say that it came as a shock to see it all over the grass. to see what was in there, out and spread for perusal. And (because mother nature has en excellent sense of humour) of course it rained a deluge overnight. All over everything. So that things that might have been saved, which were now ruined were made easier to get rid of, and not much remained after that.
A 4 cubic metre skip (that’s pretty big) was hired, and filled quickly with stuff that was not really important.
As it was hoisted into the back of the truck and removed, I felt a weight lift from my chest. The most extraordinary experience, which spiralled into other de-cluttering exercises. Bags of clothes in storage went to charity. Shoes and suits, baby clothes, linen, fabric saved for future needs have been sent out into the universe. There is still more to do. It is exciting to be moving energy around in this way.
It is enormously freeing and left me feeling raw and exposed. I was glad for company.
The room has been claimed as a studio, and I can’t wait to get seriously going in there once the kids are back at school (4 days and counting down). And the house is now a much nicer place with sparkling windows, clear tables and a lot more calm after the storm. It feels much more like home, and it’s reassuring to know that the space that is home, will move with us, when we go to our next address, whenever and wherever that will be.
The decluttering (thanks for the big push Mum) has been so thorough, and set so much in motion that we passed a garage sale on Sunday, and I felt no call to attend. Saying I still had to get rid of stuff before I could look at adding anything, and imagining more things leaving in bags and the flood of relief that follows. The visualisation was too strong, and, hilariously my car was stolen. A cosmic joke, that I thankfully get and while inconvenient, it is not the end of the world. Insurance will hopefully sort it out sooner than later, and bring me replacement wheels of some kind to move forward with a new view to the world.
I am, to be honest more upset about the loss of the jeans that were in the back seat, and the vintage dominoes that were in a metal tin in the back than the car. It’s just a car after all, and I probably drive more than I should.
In a marvellous distraction, the man and I attended 66a Church Rd, a new play by Daniel Kitson. A magnificently poignant and beautifully rendered monologue, with superb dioramas illuminated in suitcases that peppered the show with visual interest.
We loved it, and his words keep coming back to me. He described his search for the perfect home and how we may be looking for a 2 bedroom house, close to public transport and amenities, but what we really wanted was ‘something lovely’. True. He went on to describe the feelings one has for ones home. The swelling of the heart as the front door was sighted. The familiarity and love one feels for the eccentricities of ones own space – no matter how strange they may be. True.
And the fact that it is just four walls, and it is what is contained within that makes it a home. The memories that are attached to particular things, not the bricks themselves. Home is where we invest ourselves and allow ourselves to just be.
Which I found intensely comforting at this point in my life. Thank you Mr Kitson, I am a fan.
My home is my home. Not my house. And letting go of this house, no matter that it feels like home today will be fine. Home will follow and home will be home wherever it is.