A Room of My Own
January 22, 2018
“He had never told any one but Mary
that most of his “tantrums” as they called them
grew out of his Hysterical Hidden Fear.”
-The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
I am 43 years old…and I hate to admit this, but I recently had a small but mighty “I-don’t-want-to” tantrum.
Kicking and screaming. That is how I would describe my attitude when I finally and begrudgingly said to my 11 year old daughter, “Ok, we can switch. You can have my office and I will take your room.”
Sadly, the delight and joy that these words caused in her face…didn’t slow the burn of my inner turmoil.
“I was doing it,” I reasoned to myself, “but I did NOT have to be happy about it.”
Oh how I had angst over this decision. Cups and cups of hot tea were consumed as I sat perched in my old office chair, looking out over my chickens as they pecked among the deer whose baby fawns were frolicking nearby. Behind them the fog had settled between the green hills, while the sun was beginning to rise on my left.
“Surely,” I thought to myself, ” just because she asked…doesn’t mean I have to say YES. I am allowed to say no…to keep this space, this view, just for me…right?” I was like a boxer, trying to talk myself up, get my head in the game, preparing to battle for the rights to my space.
When I was ready and fully decided, I walked back into our master bedroom and announced to my husband, “I’m NOT switching rooms with her. I don’t want to.”
I had meant to deliver these lines with confidence and conviction, but coming out of my mouth they sounded more like those of a small child not wanting to share their toys.
My husband stared at me in disbelief and then, he hit me with them: MY OWN WORDS. (the one weapon I had not expected)
He said, “Keri, aren’t you the one who said in her blog that “Change is Good“? Didn’t you tell others to change up their space and place for a fresh perspective?”
GULP. When I started this writing “thing”, I never anticipated this moment in the least…where my own words would come back to bite me. But there I stood, defenseless and dumbfounded, realizing that he (and I guess I) was probably right.
“Ugh, I’ll go tell Rylan.” I said as I wandered away…still not emotionally prepared for what was about to happen, but committed to doing it now none the less.
Because ,“change is GOOD, CHANGE is good, change IS good,” I repeated to myself over and over down the hallway.
WHAT EXACTLY WAS I FIGHTING FOR?
I feel like I need to give you all a little more information about this “room” that I was fighting so hard to keep.
Are you ready for a laugh?
The room was and is the exact same size as my daughters room. The view I was describing above is also the exact same view from my master bedroom window. My old room was, however, filled with:
- a craft area (that I never used)
- a treadmill (that I never ran on)
- two big chairs (that I actually sat in often)
- a TV (that was rarely watched)
…and then in the CLOSET (yes I said IN the closet…see below for pic), was my office/writing space. (that if I am honest…I spent more time writing at Starbucks than my closet-office…so it too was rarely used).
The room was cramped chaos at best, filled to the brim with great intentions…and a million dollar view of my happy place. But for some reason, I had my claws in so deep they would have left scars in the concrete floors when they finally dragged me out.
Why was I fighting so hard? Was it the Holly Hobby blue walls in her bedroom that I knew would have to painted? Was it the hours of my life I would lose in the move? Or was it perhaps some sort of “hysterical hidden fear” like Collin had in The Secret Garden?
Fear of what though? To be honest, I am still not 100% sure.
What I do know is this:
When I start holding on to something too tight…
it’s time to let it go…
or at the very least, it’s time to loosen the death grip a bit.
And as I sat one afternoon, trying my best to “let go” and embrace the impending change, I had an epiphany:
This new room…doesn’t HAVE to be what it was before.
It could be a room:
- WITHOUT a TV to distract me.
- WITHOUT a treadmill to taunt me and make me feel guilty for not using it.
- and WITHOUT a craft corner in a constant state mess that needs to be cleaned up.
It COULD BE a room of my very own, perhaps even…JUST a writing room!
The words “a room of my own” and “writing room” rang nicely in my ears and stirred my creative soul. It was then and only then that I began to reimagine her bedroom as my own, and as something completely new.
LET THE TRANSFORMATION BEGIN
STEP 1: The Blue Had to Go!
Although I had convinced my daughter that the color of her bedroom walls, painted by the previous homeowner, was “denim”, I knew in my heart it was really Holly Hobby blue, and it HAD to go.
I opened my paint cans with gusto, excited about the transformation that only a paintbrush could create. 6 Hours later, I could barely raise my arms above my head without them shaking…and I had only completed 1 stinking wall!
I had clearly underestimated how many coats it would take to cover up the blue…and at some point I began to wonder, “What if I just left it this way? Could it pass for whitewashed…or perhaps some cool new artsy-patchy effect?” I knew the answer, but when you are delirious on paint fumes and exhausted, you begin to bargain with yourself to get out of the work.
Just when I wanted to quit, my 11 year old daughter bounced in and offered to help!
Together over the weekend, she and I completed one little “nook”, so that I could at least set up my desk and get back to writing. The other 4 walls (the room is an odd L shape) sadly remained blue….for ,*sigh*, another month. I made every excuse in the world to not pick back up the paintbrush, and secretly hoped that if I stayed away from the house long enough, that my husband would surprise me and do it (or have it done) for me.
Sadly, this was not the case. The painting fairies never arrived at my home, and the plastic tarp over my couch was beginning to gather dust. Knowing I could not do it alone, I finally brokedown, took my own advice, and “asked for help”.
In just 24 hours, with the help of my whole brood, it was finally DONE and the decorating could begin.
STEP 2: DECORATING (My Favorite Part!)
I lovingly chose each thing, saturated the space with my favorite colors and textures, and tried to create a place that I would want to linger in for hours.
The angles of the room make it almost impossible to capture in photos and it is not 100% done, but below are some of the highlights and pics of MY new writing room.
We painted just the one wall behind my desk a bright kelly green (my favorite color) and then I filled the natural wood shelves with things that make me happy. The clipboards below the shelves hold motivational quotes that will be rotated as needed. My desk is an old outdoor table we had on our patio and I draped my old black office chair with a Kantha quilt for a pop of color. They are so soft and colorful that I bought another one for my couch too.
This is the view I see from my workspace. The vintage slate school chalkboard over the couch was FREE…a treasure found in my in-laws garage when they moved in last fall. I had my friend Mary Liz Eastland do the lettering for me…because A: I write like a 3 year old and B: Her hand lettering is so BEAUTIFUL! I plan to refresh it every so often with something new and inspiring. For now the message is my writing mantra for 2018:
BE BRAVE. DO THE WORK. DO NOT BE AFRAID. FOLLOW HIS FLASHLIGHT.
I found this fun flower pot sign AND these old metal letter O’s at 8th Street Market in Comfort Texas and turned them into fun book shelves to display FHB’s big 3: The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy.
This is my garden corner…filled with flower paintings from friends and by friends…seen here still with the Christmas tree I can’t seem to put away because…well I love twinkle lights and I’m just not ready to be without this lovely glow.
- They all rest upon a cool metal cart on wheels that doubles as the side table to the comfy old covered couch I have had since I first got married and my newest find…these fantastic velvet green chairs.
STEP 3: WRITE
This is the scariest part of all. It’s like when you decorate a room for a new baby…and then it is done, the baby is born….and now the real work begins.
I have all I need: The space is done…the excuses are gone…it is time for me to write. I mean “really” write. Not just these fun blogs…it’s time to get back to writing the book that is in my heart, to do the thing I am being called to do. And frankly I am afraid. It is going to be a hard long road, one I have never traveled on before.
But NOW…after all of that kicking and screaming…at least I get to do it in a room of my VERY OWN.
I GET TO write down the words of my heart…in my very own writing room.
Thank you RYLAN…sweet girl who pushed me out of my comfort zone and chaos…and into this new place and space of peace.
Thankful for the letting go, the giving in, and the coming together of this room,
FHB and Especially Me