because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Manifesting a New Home

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My childhood bedroom. For real. This is it.

Growing up, I lived in a bedroom my mother said she decorated ‘especially for me’.

The truth is that she decorated it for herself, but I didn’t know that at the time.

All I knew was that she loved the way the red furniture looked atop the plush, lime-green wall-to-wall carpet. She loved the way the floral bedspread matched the curtains, which matched the desk chair cushion, which matched the teddy bear that had been crafted out of the same material.

Unfortunately, it was a room that did not suit me.

At all.

While my friends had posters of rock stars tacked to their walls, or pictures of famous super-models or bulletin boards with pushpins, or shelves with trophies and ribbons, I had pink and green floral wallpaper that my mother selected for me before I was even born. For me, home was more like being in a hotel room: a place that you stayed temporarily.

“This house belongs to me and your mother,” my father explained. “One day you’ll have your own house which you can decorate however you’d like; until then, you go by your mother’s and my rules. And that means no holes in the walls.”

I remember complaining about these rules… and then being grounded for complaining.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I now realize I was being taught to submit, to ignore my needs to take care of the needs of others. My father always told me to listen to the little voice in my head, but the voice in my head contradicted the voice he heard. The voice I heard told me to challenge, to speak, to do things that other people told me were scary. The voice I heard told me to create, to organize, to decorate, to beautify in my way.

When my (now ex) husband and I separated in 2015, I wound up in an apartment. It’s not a bad place. I have plenty of square footage in which to roam about, a storage area in the basement, a garage in which to park my car at night. There are two elevators, one of which is often not working. The long hallways are painted in drab neutrals and feature crystal light fixtures and plenty of enormous mirrors. The carpets are worn. Fresh cut flowers sit in a decorative vase in the lobby. Various doormen help folks with their comings and goings.

But living here has not been good for me.

And I finally realized why.

For the last 24 months, I’ve been experiencing that same stifled feeling I used to feel when I lived at home with my parents as a teenager.

I can’t decorate the way I’d like to.

Can’t entertain the way I’d like to.

Can’t listen to my music at the decibel I’d like to.

(also, my neighbors know waaaaay too much about my comings and my goings)

For me, a home is not just four walls, a floor and a ceiling.

My home is an extension of my creative self.

It never occurred to me I would feel this way when I signed the lease two years ago.

While moving in, I watched the movers as they attempted to cram my beautiful leather couch through the door.

“Lady,” one guy said, wiping his brow. “This thing ain’t gonna fit.”

A few days later, I purchased an unattractive sofa and chair combo from the “scratch and dent” side of a local furniture store.

(because, you know, I wasn’t going to have it forever)

I made a lot of decisions that way.

Since then, I’ve acquired many temporary items.

Broken things.

Things that I wouldn’t want to bring into a real home.

Today I realized that the reason I’ve been doing this is because I haven’t been able to visualize myself staying in Rochester long-term.

When my son heads off to college in August, I have the opportunity to relocate and start over.

Or I can stay where I am and continue to build on what I’ve created for myself over the last 2 years.

Maybe I can find something like this, huh?

I don’t know where I want to do this starting over – but I can see it, this home.

It’s bright, a single-story home with lots of natural sunlight. It’s clean and new and open. There are 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. Wood floors. A space I can use as an art studio with white walls and shelving and easy access to a working sink. I can see the patio in the backyard, my little patch of grass.

I get panicky when I think about starting over all by myself somewhere far away from where I have spent the last 20 years of my life.

But I also know that wherever I go, I always meet new people – some of whom who become dear friends to me.

So I’m putting my desire out into the Universe.

Help me.

Show me where you want me to go.

Bring the right people to guide me.

Help me to trust myself and others.

And let me live long enough to know what it feels like to be at home again.

Ever moved somewhere alone? How was that for you? What’s the worst thing about moving alone? What was the best thing?

tweet me @rasjacobson

**NOTE: I’d like to thank my parents for taking & sending this photograph to me, knowing full-well that I was writing about my childhood bedroom. They are beyond generous and mostly understand that I have this strange need to write about it all.

14 thoughts on “Manifesting a New Home

  1. I like what you’ve done with your apartment, but I really hope you can find your own house! Decorate how you want, entertain how you want, it will be all YOU!

    1. Thanks Faith. I appreciate everything you’ve done to invite me into your life over the last two years. I can’t wait to have you guys over for dinner – at my place, no matter where that turns out to be.

  2. Interesting. Now that I look back I can see that I spent 30 years living in a home that I wasn’t allowed to decorate any part of. Of course, over the years, I put down new carpet, painted walls, built in shelves, tiled the kitchen, added hardwood flooring, remodeled bathrooms, built a three-seasons room…but, there wasn’t a room that was me. It became pretty obvious when I had to move out seven years ago, because once I packed my things, the place didn’t look one bit different. Nothing missing from the walls or the shelves – only an empty closet and storage spaces.

    As to making the move alone, I did it all myself and it wasn’t a real happy feeling. Downright depressing, actually. I also moved to an area where I didn’t know anyone and, at the time, it was an incomplete housing development which the developer had walked away from. My home sat somewhat separate from where the building of the other homes had ended and I would reference the old horror movie “The Last House on the Left” if I needed to tell someone how to find my place. Since then, the neighborhood has finally built out and I’ve met some neighbors but none I’d call friends yet because, between work and other after work activities, I’m always on the go so that makes it difficult and it’s a slow process.

    As to the best thing, once I got over the initial trauma, I became able to look at the move as a fresh start. The essentially brand-new home came with an unfinished basement which was the first thing I dove into, and it is still a work a progress, but it was really great therapy to roll up my sleeves and begin creating something that said ME all over it. Same with the living areas upstairs and the spaces in the yard which cry out for me to spend more time putting my ideas in place. The nice thing is, the house is patient – it’s always there, waiting for me to have an inspiration, and an afternoon or a weekend, to create another thing that says ME all over it.

    Whatever, wherever, however you land, I hope you have your opportunities to put YOU all over it.

    1. Brian, I didn’t know any of this about you, so thank you for sharing. It’s always helpful when someone who has been thru a divorce shares his/her story. Makes me feel less alone. I am so looking forward to feeling rooted again. Can’t wait to decorate my way and just start living again. I’m definitely a person who likes to have a nest to decorate. Can’t wait to be able to to say, “I’m home.”

  3. Renee, I moved away from home when I was 25. Then, a little more than four years later, I got married and made a home with my wife and like Brian above, there are only parts of the home that are ‘mine.’ I have a basement office and a closet and a pile of books beside the bed. I have my chair in the family room. But, when I think when I think of home, I have one, but home isn’t stuff or things, it’s a feeling of where I belong. I wish you good fortune as you search for your new home, but remember what Dorothy said about home at the end of the Wizard of Oz, ‘it was always here, I just didn’t see it.’ Peace.

  4. Okay, I’ll be more selfish than the other commenters, Renee. You should move to Fort Worth and get away from the horrible winters you suffer through up there. Unlike Florida, we do have 4 seasons here, but the winter would seem mild to a girl from upstate New York. You’d have one of your strongest supporters here (me). Win-win all the way around.

  5. I’ve moved alone to several places. Years ago, when I put my heart and soul and wishes out there as you’re doing, the place I most needed (and would end up growing hugely in) came into fruition.

    Sending good vibes to the Universe on your behalf!

  6. Dear Renee, you are on the right track. I trust you will listen to the messages I send you along the way. Afterwards, the trust you have in yourself will lead you to the right place at the right time. Thanks for opening up to me. Love, The Universe 🙂

    1. Dear Universe:

      I know you are right about having trust. I’m just so damn impatient. Teach me to be more patient, Universe. I know good things are coming. And thanks for bringing WORDHUGS (aka: Sandra) to me. I have missed all my cyberfriends so very much!

      1. So happy to touch base with you again, too! 🙂

  7. Bravo Renee. Now you can do what every you want. I know that dream will come true. Hang in there and build your ideas how you want something and go for it. I know you will succeed. By the way I love you and I am very proud of you. Mommie Joan

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, mom. I believe that. I dod. I know that i have a lot to offer the world. I just have to find my way back to it.

  8. Reading this a year later, I am struck by your scratch and dent furniture and other broken furnishings. You surrounded yourself with the broken and temporary. I don’t know how much of that remains. I hope you’ve found ways to fill your space with things that are whole and more stable.

    1. Hi Dorothy. Alas, I’m still surrounded by mostly scratch and dent…butt he difference is that I am not eager to replace those things with things that I truly love. I just haven’t found the house yet. It’s all happening in its own time, I guess. Keep your eyes open for a sweeeeeet ranch for me in 14610.

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