Small Changes

Hi! I’m new here. I have some other things to write about today, but I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself first. My name is Stephanie, and I have one husband (just the right number for me), two kids (probably the right number for me) aged 7 and 4, and two beagles. I have been primarily home with my kids for the last 6 years and 10 months, and I have felt conflicted about that decision for about the last 6 years and 9 months.

There are a lot of facets to me beyond my role as mom, of course, just like all of you are beautifully multi-faceted and indefinable. I am looking forward to sharing some of me here, and learning more about each of you when you choose to comment.

Okay, onward!

This weekend my family went to visit grandparents, and I stayed home to “have alone time,” by which I mean I worked my butt off painting my bathroom. Then I cried about it afterward.

We moved two years ago into a house in a good location, closer to all of the areas we frequent, but I am slow to put down roots. And this house in many ways still feels like Someone Else’s home. Someone Else really, really liked beige. The carpet, the walls, the counters, the tile, the appliances. All the color of weak tea with milk in it. Slightly less inspired and creative than the yard, which was just grass.

I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of projects we have to work on in this house, the financing involved in each of them and how to properly prioritize them. Sometimes I have felt stymied, unsure what to do next or how to make the time to accomplish it when there are so many other demands and our weekend time together is precious. And, to be honest, isn’t it sometimes easier to get used to the things around us that we don’t particularly like than it is to convince ourselves to change those things? That one counter that is always cluttered. The closet overflowing with old, unused toys and puzzles. The horrible drabness of a colorless environment. We humans are adaptable. It is one of our hallmark traits! But I have to tell you, I seriously underestimated the tension that comes from beginning and ending each day (and, for me, spending most of my waking time) in an environment that is ponderously bland, my cheerful curtains and decorations awash in a waste of baked sand.

So, finally, feeling the energy of harvest-season, the rush of doing that comes at the end of summer, I decided to go for it. To just begin. It took three times as long as I expected it to, for such a small space. But by the time you know that, you’re already far enough in to not be willing to go back. Invested in the tedium of unscrewing hardware and switch and outlet plates and laying out a mass of tape. And just in case the temptation to go back arises, one quick swipe of the paint brush ensures that it is much too late to turn back. So you KEEP GOING.

With interruptions and unplanned hardware store visits for materials that I swore I already had but now cannot find, plus my complete lack of skill in caulking the everloving tub, I managed to be drilling the last holes for the new hardware by the time my husband and kids arrived home on Monday afternoon.

And that night, washing my face before bed, framed by a beautiful pale blue standing out against the tile and the counter-tops, I cried. Not because it was beautiful, even though it was. Not because I was exhausted, even though I was. I cried my relief to have a space of my own making again. And I cried because I had effected a change in my world that I could see and feel, something tangible. Even though we’d all gotten used to the beige, it wasn’t until it was gone that I realized that the beige had a psychological mass. It had pressed down on me, reminding me that I lived in Someone Else’s home. Just as humans are adaptable, so are we creative. We project ourselves onto our space in some way or another. It wasn’t a big change. It didn’t need a big change, really. But the blue freed me in a small way from Someone Else’s choices, and it felt good to know I had done it myself. I needed to change something, and I did it MYSELF.

Next up, the rest of the walls?

What small changes have you made in your life or your environment that have felt more significant than you expected?

Or what have you been sitting on, waiting for the right time?

Paint Brush 206/365
Paint Brush 206/365” by Anne Hornyak is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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