Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Resurrection

I never really liked the house, even in the beginning, when we were newlyweds and just starting out. It would do, I suppose, if one didn't take into consideration my wishes, and I generally didn't.

I made some efforts in the beginning to make it feel like a home, but with every suggestion that was scoffed at it became more clear to me that my initial assumption was correct, that this wasn't my home after all. I was only there by the most tenuous of permissions.

Eight years later, when we began our divorce, it was decided that I would take the kids and move out, and he would keep the house. It was an arrangement that suited us both. I found a smaller house nearby, qualified for a loan and planned with my agent to make an offer as soon as my settlement came through.

But of course it never came through. The whole thing fell apart spectacularly. Two years later I am still in the house. It is mine now. This place I never intended to be.

I spent the first year after the criminal case opened just flattened out. It was all I could do to get through each day. My life felt like a drawn out theater production and I kept waiting, praying for the curtain to fall so a new act could begin. The house was simply a way station, the backdrop in which this drama played out.

If you had asked me then, I would have said his energy dominated the house. It was in the walls and the floors and the furniture. It slept beside me in the bed long after he had gone. I sat in the house day after day, wishing myself away. I resented the house.

I began to pack up his stuff, because I had to in order to breathe. It was the least and the most I could do. I had to get out from beneath his stuff.

Packing up his office was the worst. There was so much in there I could barely stand to look at – the image of a ravaged woman on a CD jacket, a book on torture, more and more pornography. The history of his disease played out through his possessions. I would pick up an item and put it in a box and it felt like I was dredging it through sand. My mind reeled at the task. My body ached. My heart ached. It felt like an exorcism.

That year was a long year. Perhaps my longest ever.

During the second year I found my footing. Like a sailor acquiring sea legs, I learned to not get knocked over by the rush and swells of this new life.

For the longest time I felt only the heaviness of the house on me, but after a while I started to feel how the heaviness weighed on the house, too. At night I could hear her shift and sigh under the weight. I could feel the light inside her walls, wanting out.

I began to think that I couldn't leave her just yet. I couldn't leave until I unburied her.

It seemed natural to start with the walls, which were a dark khaki color. Years ago we had sat together and chosen that color. He had pointed it out and liked it, and I had nodded in the way that I did when I made the silent transaction in which I shuffled my desires to the bottom.

I began, again, with his former office, which was now my son's room. I had to take hardware down off the walls, spackle it and sand it down. It was a tedious task. There was nothing easy about that room.

But when I put that first coat of paint up and the sky blue color began to take over, it felt incredible. It felt like I could breathe again. After it was done, I kept walking down the hall just to look at it. When I looked at it, I felt happy. I felt my heart lift.

I hung airplanes. I took down the mirrored closet doors that spooked my son and hung curtains with biplane finials. I framed some of his artwork and put it up in the room. We found a bunk bed on sale.

Next was my bathroom. Then my bedroom, then the master closet. I chose a palette of light colors. I needed the lightness of light colors. I sprinkled rose petals between the mattresses of the big bed. Someone told me it would dispel the darkness. I smudged the whole house. Twice.

I cleaned out the closets, one by one. I dredged up boxes of stuff from the basement, boxes I hadn't opened in years, stuff I didn't even know I had. I set free the ghosts and collapsed the boxes, one by one.

It was hard and it felt like it took a lifetime, when in fact it took perhaps six months. But it felt like I was peeling off the layers of bad memories, injustices, and fear. A reverse haunting. An unhaunting.

I still don't know how long I'll be here. This may not be a permanent home, but it feels like a peaceful place to lay down my head at night. It feels like a place where I can breathe, and breathe deeply. It is home for now. And I'm okay with that.






22 comments:

  1. What a great way to clear the energy of your house - I hope your happiness continues to grow.
    Have the best day possible !
    Me

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  2. I love it that you found a way to lighten the burden, Kristin. I know you don't think so, but truly, you're one helluva woman!
    I love it that you're making your own decisions, even over choices some might see as trivial (like paint colours) - unless they'd been living a lie for so long.
    And you know I would pack and spackle and paint with you if I could. X

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    1. How cool would that be to spackle and paint together?! x

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  3. Sweeping out the physical cob webs has such an profound effect on the mental cobwebs. I hope this turns it from a house to a home xxx

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    1. It's amazing how closely the two are connected, isn't it?

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  4. Whether you stay there or not, you're rebuilding your life and yourself. You'll get stronger every day and your wishes will never be disregarded again. Love to you and your beautiful kids. xxx

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    1. Thanks Corinne - I've enjoyed following your new adventure in Dubai. x

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  5. Glad to hear!!!
    I hope you feel safe now as well?

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  6. How beautiful. I am so glad you are finding some peace after such an awful time.

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    1. Thank you, it feels good to relax finally. x

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  7. When we make a home we make a peace with ourselves.

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  8. It is interesting how a person can influence so many things, bringing them all down to their level, pushing them down physically and mentally, making them conform - sometimes without them even noticing it is happening. I am so sorry that this happened to you and your children over time. I am not surprised that the house became influenced by that person as well. I am so glad you have managed to cleanse, and I mean that in more than the physical sense, your house of the influence of HIM. What is most wonderful, is that you did it yourself, you didn't get the painters in, you didn't rely on others, you and your 2 wonderful kids did it together. An exorcism of sorts, more power to you K. Enjoy the space until you decide the time is right to move on. Hugs xxx

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    1. Thanks K. You know, I've given so much thought to exactly what you've articulated. The powerful and far-reaching effects of our actions. It's amazing how the way someone expresses himself or herself can completely permeate the environment (and people in that environment). It goes both ways. Our expressions of love and acceptance have profound effects too. x

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    2. I am so glad your children have you in their lives as their role model, loving them for all time. xxx

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  9. It sounds like you are coming out of the woods after a long and lonely journey. It is nice to read this.

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    1. Thanks P, I am, and it feels really nice. x

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  10. Oh I could feel the energy lifting as you told the story. It's amazing how a living space carries energy. And amazing what affect that energy has on us. I love that you took the power back, you created light. So very inspiring. I've thought about this very thing lately (energy and houses, and not really liking where I live but having no choice, and what I can about it). Powerful story, Kristin.

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    1. Thanks Deb. How interesting we've been thinking about the same things. My whole perspective is shifting now from one of feeling powerless about my circumstances to realizing just how much power I (we all) do hold. x

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  11. Sometimes the most positive re-enforcement for your soul when times get tough is the ability to watch a resilient and strong friend just go about taking care of business in a silent, unassuming manner while unknowingly demonstrating a inner strength to survive all that is thrown their way without complaint or hesitation.

    Sometimes all it takes to be a inspiration to others is just to be yourself.

    I had forgotten just how much I enjoy your Blogs Kristin.

    God Bless & Thank You

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    1. Wow, Andrew, thank you. What a beautiful comment. I read your blog post yesterday. Glad to see you writing again, and glad that you have found a direction that brings you peace. x

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