How are you today…?
I am sitting at home, feeling a bit courageous actually. Next to me I have a cup of coffee with milk. The house is quiet. Completely quiet…. This is what I fear. What I have been afraid of for some time now. Alone at home. And I am facing it. In my nightmare they weather is worse. It is dark and raining. But today the sun is shining, so I get a milder version. Still, I am facing it.
What caused this fear? I used to love being at home. I used to hide from the world at home. I used to spend hours and hours alone on my bed deep into books about paganism, Steiner philosophy, Harry Potter, Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood or Freud. You name it, I would have been interested in spending a day alone with that book almost no matter what. Or with a bundle of yarn in my lap, knitting needles in my hands while listening to some nice music. Almost any kind of music. With a few exceptions I am just generally very interested in all kind of music. I love it, and I listen and listen and dream about being part of it. Playing it, singing it, being able to somehow use music as an expression of myself.
Something happened when I was ill this year. I was so ill, for so long. I was tested in almost every way you can imagine, but all test results were fine. I was healthy. But I was not. So I was scared. And I was lonely, being so worn down and nauseas all the time that I could not leave the house. I could hardly leave the bed. Day after day I longed for when my family would come home and fill the house with life. Because, as my husband once said; when I was ill I sort of just vanished. I could hardly muster up the energy to answer a question. I just existed, sort of. I have to say right away, that it was nothing serious. It just felt serious. It seems like I have SIBO and because of that fructose malabsorption. In other words, I suddenly got super sensitive to fructose, sucrose, lactose, fructans and so on, so almost everything I ate would give me a reaction. I feel better now, but there is a lot of food I need to avoid.
I have not loved our house. We bought it, but I did not like it. For years and years I have struggled with it. We could not afford anything else, living on one income with small children. But I could not settle with it either. When we had visitors I would always put an extra good note on random comments about our house. The comments were usually something nice, but I would feel like it wasn’t. A comment such as “You have sort of a working house” would to me feel like “Your house is not nice”, even if it was ment as “Your family is so creative”. A comment like “Wow, entering your living space is like an epiphany of light!” would to me mean “Your hallway is so dark and narrow”, and if someone would comment a rearranging of furnitures as pretty, I would assume they thought it used to look bad. All of this came, of course, from me not liking my house in the first place. I wanted to like it, because we had lived there for some time. Our children was born there. They grew up there. It was important to me to connect emotionally to that place.
But in stead of trying to make it into something I would like, I just felt bad. If you add Instagrams perfect homes to the mix as well, you can perhaps imagine me sulking in the sofa while scrolling through cottage-like dream homes situated in a fairy forest, and feeling bad. I tried to do things that would make me like the house. I tried to decorate it in different ways, I tried to tell myself how cool a 50s house can look, tried to embrace the retro interior styling that is so popular, and that would fit the house very well. I tried to move things around, I tried to paint walls, I tried so much change all the time to see what could make it better. How could I make this space into something I would be proud of? Something I would feel comfortable in? Something that would feel ‘right’? I think at one point I changed so much and so often that I would not be able to tell wether a change was good or not. The house was just a flow of change all the time. But when I got ill, everything stopped.
While being ill, I somehow started to view my house even worse. I felt captured. It was becoming a prison. I could not leave, and the place that I had such complicated feelings for, started to make me feel scared, or uneasy might be the right word. I did not want to be alone there anymore. As I got better I started to make myself really busy so that I would not have to be alone at home. I wanted to be with my family, I wanted to have friends over, but when they would leave for school and work, so would I. No matter what.
I struggle with this. I have always been such a homebody, I know that this is not me. I need to change how I feel about my house. My home. But how do I do that? I don’t know. But I am starting by spending time here. Alone. And I try to really notice how that makes me feel. And why. And I try to shift how I think about the time I was ill. My house was not my prison. It was my shelter. It kept me safe while I was weak. I need to focus on that, and keep telling myself that. This house is my home. This home is my shelter.
This is where I can be myself, where my family can be who they are. This is where we meet, where we eat, make things, rest, argue, love, play, laugh, cry. This is where we live. This house is my home. This home is my shelter.