I’ve been living in my home for almost nine years and have refused to decorate it. This was not a conscious decision, but a deep subconscious rebellion born out of ressentiment about my living situation.
It started because of the home I had in Colorado that I loved. I bought it in 2004, all on my own, at 27 years old. I loved my neighbors, had visions of filling that home with a family, and goals of remodeling it just the way I wanted. Then life laughed at my dream and ten years later I found myself a single mom, living in an apartment, raising my daughter and trying to understand how this was my, “new normal” long before that became a 2020 catch phrase. The irony of it all, was that before my daughter was born, my then husband wanted to wait before buying a house. He was content to have a baby in our apartment. I mean we did have the room. Three large bedrooms, a great community with multiple pools, a clubhouse etc. But I was adamant I would never, and I mean never, raise my child in an apartment! Kids need a backyard. A place to lay in the grass and connect with nature. A real home! Now I live on a third story apartment and my deck overlooks a cement parking lot. So much for nature.
Truth be told, it’s not a bad apartment. It’s two floors, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. I have a nice size home office, my daughter has her own room, and it even has a large attic stuffed with all the things that in my mind should be in a “real” house.
I moved here quickly at the advice of my attorney and daughter’s therapist. I had no desire to ever leave Colorado. I literally sat on the shower floor and cried my eyes out the night before I left. I pathetically crawled out of the shower sopping wet, crawled across the floor into bed and sobbed, and I mean sobbed, myself to sleep. Yet, I had prayed about it. I knew deep in my Spirit God was calling me back to New Jersey. And once he spoke boldly into my heart, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that’s what I needed to do. Unfortunately, that deep knowing didn’t change the anger and sadness that filled me. So rather than end up in the belly of whale like Jonah, I listened to God the first time, and moved. Resentfully, angerly, sadly, heartbrokenly and all the other -lys.
So it turns out, in some unconscious childlike-rebellion, I never decorated my home. Initially, my plan was to move into an apartment for a year, establish my residency and finally finish the ongoing court battle with my ex-husband. I was still living in the midst of my nightmare, but at least would be surrounded by family and have the much-needed support for my daughter.
A year turned into five, and then three more, and now I’m looking at four more. My current plan is to stay here until my daughter graduates High School. So yes, I will have raised my daughter in an apartment and she barely remembers her home in Colorado. Even typing this makes my heart heavy and sad. It’s so not the life that I pictured for her. It’s not the dream I worked eight years prior to her birth building a business for. It was never my plan and I’m sad to think maybe it was God’s plan because I don’t like His plan.
This year as she entered High School she wanted to redecorate her room. I’ve refused to even paint the walls because every time I think of painting I then think, “Why bother? I’m not staying here anyway!” My furniture is a mismatch of pieces I took from Colorado, pieces people gave me when I first moved and was broker than broke, and random stuff I find for a deal. Unwilling to pay full price or invest in anything because you know, “I’m not staying here anyway.”
After multiple pleas to paint her room, a heart filled with guilt that she’s in an apartment, and a half a year stuck in quarantine in the home I’ve refused to decorate, I have finally given in.
I figure just in case we end up quarantined again I might as well like where I have to hibernate.
So I’ll be sharing my journey of cheap-o renovation (because remember, “I’m (still) not staying here”) and decoration (which should be interesting because I care barely go to a TJ Maxx without an anxiety attack of overwhelm).
And since the first question when decorating seems to be, “What’s your style?” and my answer is, “I have no style.” I have no idea if this will be better or worse by the time I’m done.
Oh, and since I’m paying for everything in cash it will be a little a time and I’ll post and share as I go. Maybe it will inspire you to upgrade your space, maybe it will make you feel better knowing that someone has 100% less style than you, or maybe you’ll celebrate my small victories with me (like the newly replaced mirror in my bathroom that should not be a big deal but somehow signifies the dawning of a new age of acceptance to me).
Don’t worry, along the way I’ll still be playing Jimmy Buffett, keeping my house at 90 degrees and dreaming of the day I decorate my palm tree for Christmas because remember, “I’m not staying here anyway.”