Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Recently I read Liz's post about letting go and then I found Felicity's post on Home, which is a part of Mixed Media Memoirs and combined, that stirred a strong emotional reaction. It came into a sharper focus when I saw Melba's post on releasing feelings of guilt . It felt like all of these things formed a constellation, an arrow from the universe, pointing me towards something I needed to look at.

Years ago I was at a party and said, "I would really love a house." And a friend said, "No, you would really love a home." Well, don't get me started on someone correcting me on how I feel. Ack! And the reality is, they were wrong. I was saying that I wanted a house. I already had a home.

When I was growing up, my mom really wanted a house. My dad didn't. Mom finally convinced Dad by saying that she would do all the additional work that came with owning a house. She would mow the lawn, take care of the garden, have repairs done, etc. Dad agreed. When Dad later got transferred, Mom decided that she had had enough of doing all that work so suggested they forego the house option. But by this time Dad had been sold on house-living and wasn't ready to give it up.

I learned from my mom that a house is important, something worth putting a lot of time and energy into. I believe it. Two years ago, Justin and I were able to buy our first home, with the spectacular help of our real estate agent John Tran, who I just can't say enough good about. Thank you, John. Buying our house was such a huge accomplishment. As a recent graduate school escapee with a student loan in tow and as someone with an artistic temperament and a mile-wide entrepreneurial streak, I didn't actually believe I would ever be in a position to own a house. But we did. And I'm so proud of us for that.

People always say, "Aren't you so glad you bought a house?" And this is where guilt starts to enter the picture.
It was really hard for Justin and I to adjust to not living downtown. Truthfully we still miss it, as I've posted before. And there was and is an intense learning curve - roofs, raccoons, repairs, you name it - and that has been stressful, costly and time-consuming. And I'm sad and frustrated by how so much of our home is still in process, that not a single room feels complete, beautiful and exactly how we'd like it. And wow, that turns the guilt up. I feel guilty for not appreciating this great home we have. On top of that I beat myself up over not having made it what I want it to be. And where guilt kicks in with hefty force and steel-toed pointy boots is when I feel materialistic for being focused on and caring about objects like beautiful bedding or a gorgeous desk or a fantastic chair or lighting that is a work of art and creates a beautiful mood in a room.

Today I want to release the guilt. I want to acknowledge what I absolutely love about our home. I love that we were able to buy it at all. I love that it's an adventure that Justin & I are on together. I love that it's a 5-minute walk from the subway and a grocery store and a 30-second walk to a convenience store. I love the restaurant we found 2 subway stops away and the new one that opened in the 'hood. I love having space for a studio/office. I love that a backyard that started out mud filled with buried wood, bricks and nails now has grass and flowers. I love that it's ours.

And I love the idea of creating a home of serenity, joy and beauty. I want to do that and enjoy doing it - guilt-free. I want to accept that I'm wildly in love with beauty. I want to pay attention to every detail. I want to pick up my fork and sigh. I want our door handle to me smile. I want to look at any corner of our home and think, oh, I love that. For me it isn't about a lust for things but it is an appreciation of beauty, an expression of ourselves into our space, and an act of transformation. That's what I want for our home.


Jennifer said...

I'm making my home right now too. We built our home last year and it is empty. One room, one "thing", one memory at a time...

chest of drawers said...

I understand every word of your post! I have these feelings too - sometimes the house overwhelmes me and I let it drain my energy because I see all the things that aren´t finished too! Thankyou for attracting my attention to the 101 things that I have the tasks in front of me I feel like I know where to start.

fELiCitY said...

I *love* the collage you created...I especially love that little mirrored-mosaic mannequin.
Thanks for linking to made me feel like a star!

krista said...

Ok, I don't know if I am just emotionally mental today or what but this post actually made me tear up a little. Especially the part about the door handle smiling at you.

I can relate to everything you wrote in there already and I haven't even moved into the house we just bought yet.

I also hear you about missing downtown. I am moving about 14 minutes further from the downtown and that makes me sad even! Downtown Toronto is so fabulous. It's awesome that you are so close to the subway though!

Sacred Suzie said...

I love the collage Jamie, so gorgeous. There is nothing wrong with honouring beauty, that's what the Goddess is here for! She makes our world stunning and to see that honours her.

I can't imagine the frustrations of owning your own house and the overwhelming responsibilities. I think you guys have done an amazing job Jamie and I'm glad to hear you're trying to find a way to see the beauty in your situation.

melba said...

"You would really love a home"...I totally get that. I don't love owning a house. It is a good investment and smart when you have children, but I hate taking care of it. I refuse to do any yard work. The thought of a garden does excite me, but I know I do not have the time. Since I do ALL the house work on the inside and take care of the children I decided that I would not take care of the it doesn't look like I would want it to, but it is just not a priority now.
It takes so much effort to make a house a home. I didn't feel that way when I had my own little apartment. Now I have to balance another's taste and think about the children's saftey and needs with what our house is like. I could go on her, but I will stop.
Home is where your heart is, right?