Friday, January 07, 2011

i am not my house (yet)

the room i'm sewing in these days contains our dining table and most of the boxes of stuff we haven't yet unpacked (and won't 'til we have the space - stuff like everything from my blue room). it also features hideous carpet (visible on lower right of this photo) and a hideous ceiling where the "cornices" are actually made of rope. yes, rope. what WERE they thinking? oddly, i turn on the iYiyi, light some candles and i can ignore it. i guess because i know it's not a permanent state (this bit will be gleefully bulldozed torn down. eventually.).  and ignore it i did today. and the only reason the quilt pictured here isn't finished is because i got so many ideas while i was sewing it (sewing is extremely conducive to ideas) that i had to go off and work on some of those. well, that and the dishwasher was running and i can't actually iron at the same time or the fuses blow. oh, the joy of an old house with a fuse board that one electrician characterized as "something hitler left behind after the occupation."

last week, we had some friends over. friends who, like us, have bought a falling-down farmhouse that no one else really can see the potential in. happily, they live nearby (we may have bought in a falling-down farmhouse sort of area) and happily, they totally get us, so they don't mind sitting in our rope-ceilinged, box-lined dining room, eating dinner and enthusiastically discussing ten-year plans.

and casper said something that has really echoed in my head ever since. he said when they first moved in (they moved here about a year before we did), he spent so much energy apologizing to people who visited. apologizing for what is essentially the visitors' inability to see the potential. but also apologizing because you don't want people who don't know you very well to think that the the place is really YOU. (as if that's not obvious.) and i realized i had expended an awful lot of energy on exactly that.

a colleague from husband's former workplace visited us between christmas and new year's with his totally lovely wife and two gorgeous, well-behaved children. they live near nyhavn in copenhagen, in an undoubtedly fabulous 4th floor apartment overlooking sweden. *sigh* and so the minute they came in the door, i found myself apologizing for the house. for the 7 different ceilings, the rope, the fake formica (who knew there was such a thing as fake formica?)  countertops, the pink cupboards, the low ceilings and doorways. and honestly, they were perfectly lovely and even, on some level, through their oh-my-odin-why-didn't-they-childproof-this-place eyes, got it. and they knew it wasn't us, but could respect that we saw the potential in it and that in its current state it wasn't who we were. but for some reason, i didn't trust that, even tho' the former colleague worshipped professed awe at the apple hardware altars around the house. so i spent the whole time apologizing.  which is really kinda sad at this point in my life. i should have more confidence than that.

and i even DO have more confidence than that. so what is it? we both are and aren't where we live.

but we are our wegner chairs (tongue firmly in cheek). but i should trust more in that.


Lost Star said...

Wonderful post.

I get this every year when I move to another cheap rental! I have to put my mark on places in a non-permanent way which is incredibly hard sometimes. Where I live right now, and what it looks like, is nothing to how my dream place would be.

But yes. You should have more confidence. You have a PLAN, a design, something you are going to achieve. Besides, look at all the pretty things you are making for your house!

McVal said...

I constantly apologize for the contant state of disarray my house is usually in... It's not my fault!!!! Don't judge me by what my dog just barfed up on the carpet!
I grew up in a house constantly being remodeled. Your daughter is going to grow up knowing how to sheetrock and paint! She'll definitely learn some skills...

Char said...

i was that way in bham and lived in the student housing. i thought that everyone thought ill of me for the dump - not realizing i did it because the rent was dirt cheap. i became mostly a hermit - going to see people instead of allowing them to come see me. it was unhealthy.

Miss Footloose said...

I so understand what you mean. Living as an expat in furnished rental houses, I know what it means not to feel your dwelling place isn't YOU. But for me the good thing was I never had to apologize because other expats were often in the same situation (except the diplomats and big company employees who shipped the entire content of their houses along with a supply of toiletpaper).

It was quite liberating to not be judged by your surroundings, especially not when they involved godawful ornately carved furniture or ugly carpets.

Don't feel guilty,though, and your confidence will grow with practice ;)

Veronica Roth said...

It’s been years now since I figured out the most intelligent thing for me to do is say, “stuff ‘em all” to myself (with as much conviction as I can muster),and turn my worry switch off. Admittedly it continues to be a work in progress; )

Helen said...

I love your quilts, they really are great and I've stuck the book you are using on my Amazon wishlist and in the meantime 'borrowed' my mums book on quilting. I am determined this year to use my sewing machine again. The colours on this quilt are lovely.

I totally understand about apologising for your house when people walk in. I do it all the time. I bought an old railway cottage and the last time it saw any renovation was in the 1970's. But I'm getting all takes time.

Look forward to seeing more of your quilts and good luck with the new venture, I hope it all works out.


mrs mediocrity said...

Well, I think that maybe you are what you quilt. That is gorgeous and incredible and totally you. :)