I spent the weekend making good use of my new room. I meditated, I yoga’d, I tangled, and I listened to music. I cut out new pictures for my LifeBoard and taped them onto it. I just enjoyed the space.
I’ve told several people about my room and I’ve gotten responses that range from, “OMG – that’s wonderful!” to “What’s the big deal? It’s just a room.” Which got me thinking…why IS this so important to me. (Because, of course, I have to analyze the hell out of everything…it’s what I do for heaven’s sake!) And the best reason I can come up with is that as our living and family situation has changed over the years, I have slowly been inched out of not only a space of my own but my identity in the family as well.
Before kids, let’s face it, the whole damn house was mine. The hubs could care less most of the time what it looked like as long as I was happy with it. When I first moved in, there were a lot of unfinished projects in the house and one morning he said, “I think I should take down this wallpaper (in the tiny master bath) and paint.” Poof! I was off to the races… Live in girlfriend and home decorator all rolled into one tight (I was only 22) package.
After the kids came along, I worked from home exclusively except for travel and the hubs was running his company. That made the whole dang house mine…again. Even after my mother moved in, the house and all that happened inside, was my domain. (The hubs took care of the outside.) I did all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the laundry, all the decorating, all the decluttering, etc. Nothing got done unless it got by me first. Nothing was lost unless I couldn’t find it. We always maintained our bedroom as our sanctuary and the lower level was reserved as my workout space where the kids were not allowed while I was exercising (lest they get a 10 lb weight upside the head). And of course, if all else failed, I had my office.
When we moved to the beach (yes…to the house I whine about from time to time), the situation was the same with the additional benefit of an enormous kitchen where, except for my office, I practically lived 24/7. My office was also mine and I turned the attached, unused dining room, into my yoga/meditation room. Our bedroom was my workout space. I also spent every evening there watching TV. The hubs often watched with me but could go downstairs to the family room if he wanted to watch something else. In other words, the inside of our home continued to be my domain.
Then we moved to our current home (which is beautiful BTW) and several things have changed.
- My mother has passed away so I am no longer a caretaker.
- I work from an office in the city so I am no longer home 24/7.
- My husband retired so I am no longer needed to cook, clean, do laundry, cut the grass, mend clothes, help with homework, fill out school paperwork…you get the idea…because he takes care of all of that. And I KNOW what a blessing this is and I appreciate the hell out of it (because lots of women work outside the home and don’t have any support)…but essentially…I have been outsourced.
- Since I’m not working from home anymore, my office became my husband’s office.
- I am sober – which changes a lot of things – but one change is that I don’t want to be stuck up in my bedroom watching TV anymore…it reminds me too much of the drunk days.
- The family room space belongs to the hubs and the dogs. It’s the center of our home anyway and that’s the way it needs to stay. The boys have the upstairs family room as the man cave, and their bedrooms in which to hang, and trust me…I don’t want to be in that space. Think locker rooms with furniture and gaming systems.
Then came the epiphany…I didn’t just lose a place to be, I lost my identity within the family. I’m not sure where I fit in and who I am in the dynamic anymore. (Besides the best mom and hug giver ever.) I once read that a woman is defined by who she is to her family and a man is defined by what he does for his family. Well, as it stands now I know what I do – I work to provide for my family – but I’m not sure who I am. And my issues with this house come from the fact that I don’t feel like it’s mine. Not the way the others were anyway.
What I am sure of is that I need that room to be mine. I need somewhere that is just for and about me. Whether it’s for yoga, or reading or watching cartoons…it needs to be an estrogen filled space in a testosterone filled home.
Of course, I’m still the only one that can find anything around here.
As for my identity? That, like everything else in my life, will happen one day at a time.