Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nameless Dread, Aimless Wandering, and Looking for A New View

I doubt it can be a secret to anyone that reads this blog that I want a home of my own. What might be less obvious is how miserable I have made myself waiting for the day to come. My thoughts are stuck in an endless cycle of planning, waiting, hoping, delaying, postponing, planning, waiting, hoping, delaying, postponing, and more of the same. I cannot resolve 1 problem until we resolve another. I cannot adopt a rabbit without permission from my landlord. I cannot park our RV without permission from the city. I cannot plant a garden, paint walls, pull-up carpet, tear off wall paper... And then I pause and reflect and give thanks for the good things, and I resolve to make do with what I have, until my husband shows me houses and lots, dreamscapes and open spaces, then I feel small and unworthy again, because those dreamscapes are not for me, not yet.

It's a pity party, I know, but knowing right from wrong is no defense against sadness. Sadness comes and stays, even when we love, and believe in positive thinking, even when we hear the kind concern of caring people.

I don't want sympathy. I don't want to be exceptional or different. I want to settle into a space where I feel at home, where I know where the stapler and the staples are. I want to put my things away, without apology, without permission. I want to unpack and move-in, and even to begin to believe that I won't have to start over again in 2, or 3 or 4 years.

Isn't there some study to confirm that my symptoms, my issues, are a result of the stress of moving? Ask me where the fuse box is, and my mind pictures the fuse box in the garage of the Circle Park House, then the living room of Neptune, the pantry of El Rancho, the back of the Tree House, and I don't know where the fuse box is in this place. I am confused and muddled. I feel uncertain.

So many problems I have seem to lead back to, or stem from, moving.... or anticipating the next move. Every move means upheaval and chaos, and starting over. I want to believe that with 4 children, hobbies, pets, projects, tools, paperwork and life's accessories it helps very much to adapt a system of organization that keeps things in order... it must help, I imagine, to have a familiar path, with familiar surroundings. It must help, when facing the usual disasters and setbacks, to not have to compound life's challenges by putting every single possession into boxes for the 24th 25th time and take all of it to a new residence. In the grand scheme of things, it seems like everything would be easier if I weren't still in recovery form the last move, worrying about where we are going next, and dreading the process.

So, I give myself some sympathy, compassion, and I reason that of course things are hard right now, because after all, these are hard times. But. But, I have begun to fear that I set too much store in home. What if home sweet home is a myth? What if I have only been making excuses, making messes I don't want to clean, because I can't do it in some idealized fashion, in some idealized space? What if I am no better in a place of our own, and find that I am simply a poor homemaker, a lazy mother? Maybe chickens and gardens are just a lot of work, mortgages distressful? What if our own clogged toilets are no better than rental toilets?

It's like climbing and struggling to a summit, maybe people are watching, and all along I think how nice it will be to sled down the other side, how there will be fresh water and rest on the other side, flowers and birds singing... so much anticipation, such a build-up. What if I fail? What if it's no easier when I reach that place I have been hoping for, and what if I have been my own hinderance and obstacle the whole time?

It has become a regular habit of ours to say that we will know what to do, or where to go, in 6 months. Jobs, projects, deadlines, market forecasts, opportunities... all of these have taken turns in delaying our decision, and if friends and family think we are crazy and dull, imagine how we feel. We have been waiting for 6 months for 5 years. I am sorry to say, projecting my happiness and success as a mother, wife, artist, writer, person on the future and on a place just out of reach, has kept me from living in the present. I have not failed utterly, but I have not done my best. I have not been as much of a success as I ought to be. I am bitter about lost and wasted time and things I cannot change, and I am fearful of the future, and I am missing too much of the here and now.

Someday, maybe in 6 months! we will be in our own home, making our own repairs and managing our own gardens, and I know it will be good and bad, fun and frustrating. It will not be the end of disappointment or strife, it will not be an idyllic rose petal cottage, where rainbows end and spills never happen. But I hope it can be the end of questing and waiting, the end of wondering, and feeling small and adrift. I hope I find that I can make order, most days, welcome guests often, and feel a sigh of relief... a sense of belonging, with the opportunity to find I am proficient and capable.

I think looking at the same issue over and over and over again, and never finding a resolution can be very taxing. It can undo the mind and spirit. I am ready for a new point of view.

I don't think I need to explain this, to say that it was time to head home and she did not want to go...
We stayed a little longer. William and Alex walked and talked, and Max climbed and then he encouraged Maria to try the slide. She found it was a very fast slide with a great big bump in the middle, and then she learned what it is to land without the benefit of diaper padding. She patted her bottom, with tears brimming her eyes, and said, "I wear panties now. That was a big bump!"

I have love and faith, and one viola that bloomed from the seeds I planted last year. I have 4 children and my one true love, and favorite colors, and my bed is extremely comfortable. The children are healthy and make good jokes, and they sing together. My one true love sends me on adventures then calls me home to him, he reaches for my hand in the dark. I must remember that the view from this home is in my heart.


Anna Banana said...

Thinking of you today and sending (((BIG hugs))).

nikkipolani said...

Natalie, even though I own a home, I feel so very connected to what you are writing about (love the altered photos that accompanied your post). And I search for that new perspective that will change my attitude. Hugs.

amy smith said...

and he reaches for my hand in the dark.... that is home, natalie, that is home. houses come and go, but very few people actually get to have the home you experience every day. you are blessed my friend, blessed indeed!

Missy said...

Living in limbo can be unsettling. (6 moves in 6 yrs for us before we bought our home 5 years ago) Lifting you in prayer that He may guide everything together so you will have a place to settle in, flourish, plant life long seeds and have free range chickens. ;-)


YayaOrchid said...

I am a firm believer that whatsoever we ask of the Lord, in faith, if it's for our own good, he will grant it. As for your dream home, it WILL happen someday, perhaps sooner than you imagine. It will happen because it is the desire of your heart, and I'm sure you've asked it of the Lord already. Have faith, Natalie.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalms 37:4

I'll be praying that great and wonderful things will happen in your life, Natalie!

Mama Spark said...

Home is where your heart is, my friend. Whether it be an actual house or a rental. The wonderful family and life you have around you are your "home". Life is all about the journey not the destination. You always seem to find such joy in that, from your posts we see that in your life. Your children will grow up and be gone before you know it. THEY are your home, take the time to enjoy them. A house is just that, a house. Don't spend your heart on that, keep giving it to your family. You have a wonderful family and husband, you really are blessed.

Bitterbetty said...

too many moves can be so hard. When My son was small we moved 4 times in 2 and a half years. I finally dug my heels in in Los Angeles for awhile because the landlord was a family friend and there were orange trees. But my soul was aching even then.

we finally moved to Santa Cruz and it was a mess financially but we landed where we wanted to nest and that has made all the difference.

"owning" is a lot of good and a lot of hard too. Owning the weeds in the yard is no more fun than renting them... And you can't do all you want to do to your home because life is still life, busy and full and more complicated than we would like.

but I hear you and I hope for you to finally find a place that feels like home.

gloria said...

El hogar es donde esta tu corazón, si no... es sólo una casa más.
Espero que encuentres tu lugar,
besitos ♥

Em said...

I know I'm late, but ((((hug)))!!! I love your pictures... and the tadpoles are really cute... where did you get the beekeeper thingy?

Jennifer said...

I don't know. I don't. I feel as though I have all these struggles -- not your same ones in name, but in theory, you know? -- all these struggles. And we've been living in our house for almost 18 years and we almost own it (mortgage-wise). What brings peace? Where is joy? I don't know. I sound sad, too, but I don't mean to. This all just is, and I don't know where it leaves us.