I have never been what I would consider a good decorator. I am efficient. I can go into a house or a space and fill up the space with appropriate pictures, furniture and lighting. But, it always felt like a business project. Okay… what size is the space? What will be the function of the area? Do I need something easy to clean? What colors would match and be practical? I’d also have a budget and figure out what I could do within the budget. It was very efficient. It also left me very cold.
I loved going to friend’s homes to sit in their little haven, decorated to reflect themselves. I was always so envious. If I put things sitting around, it looked like I put things sitting around. Their little things sitting around just seemed to have some kind of magic to them. I basked in it. I was green with envy. I couldn’t wait to come back. I hated to go home. I even let a friend of mine decorate my house when we moved into it in Indiana. I just didn’t have the heart to be efficient anymore. I outsourced it. What I realize now is that I could never have decorated a space to reflect me. I didn’t know who I was. I’ve said before that I felt unlovable, so I was always striving to be who I should be …. not who I was. That battle was reflected in my disconnected living conditions.
My house in Memphis would become my first attempt at decorating in my own style. I loved the house when I bought it. I did my usual thing and started to decorate by painting the walls. I was drawn to a deep golden yellow, so I painted the dining room and the yoga room in that color. I wanted a sage green in the bedroom, so I painted that room in that color. Then I stalled. I didn’t know what else to do. I was just coming out of my grief from my second divorce, and I was still healing. I wasn’t quite in the rebuilding stage. I stalled for almost a year. My living room sat with the walls still deep red – the color the previous owners had chosen, and I hated it. But, I did nothing. I was paralyzed because I didn’t know what to do with it. My heart wasn’t in it.
My sister decided to come up for a visit, and she gave me a date. This gave me a deadline. I can work on a deadline! In fact, I’m fierce on a deadline. I picked out my other paint colors and started painting. After I was done, I pulled out all of my artwork and wall hangings from storage. I laid them out on the floor to decide what to hang. As I stood there and looked at the stuff that I had moved all over the country and collected for years with my husbands, I realized that I didn’t even like this stuff. It wasn’t me at all. And, I realized that I could no longer live in a space that didn’t resonate with me. I gave myself permission to take $1000 out of savings and buy what I wanted. I no longer had to get the approval of a spouse. This house was mine – all mine!
I went to Tuesday Morning and Pier 1 Imports, and I bought things I loved. I didn’t even try to figure out where I would hang them. I just bought whatever really tugged at my heart. My style is colorful and touched with an Indian flare. But, I can’t really describe it, I just feel it when I see it. I followed my instincts this time. When I got home, I loved decorating my space. And, amazingly enough, I had bought just enough. There wasn’t too much nor did I have to buy more. My gut instincts were perfect. My sister walked into my house for her visit and exclaimed, “This house just screams Sharon!” I beamed. It was the first time I ever had a space that screamed Sharon. In fact, now is the first time in my life I’ve been able to scream Sharon. It feels good.
I’m moving into a new house this week. I’m already battling the urge to project manage the decorating. My desire for efficiency sometimes overrides my desire for authenticity and creativity. I need a new bed, and I went to a furniture store this week. I picked out some things that worked together and would be very functional. But, I just didn’t connect with it, and I certainly didn’t connect with the $4000 price tag. I thought about it, and I realized that I don’t like matched sets. I like eclectic. I like to find one piece that I like, and I know it will blend with other pieces I like because it all resonates with me. So, I bought an iron bed so I can mix and match whatever I want. I’m thinking I’ll paint my grandfather’s bedroom set in some type of distressed style so that it looks used and worn. I like things that are not perfect. Imperfection is beautiful.
My soul cracked open Friday when I was at that block party in Baton Rouge and we toured that woman’s garden with the vintage campers and re-purposed objects scattered about. I really connected with the creative use of objects that have been discarded. I loved the softness and the sparkle of it. She had the campers decorated with pillows and soft colors. Those little rolling spaces were just about the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I wanted to go hole up in one with my morning coffee and a good magazine. She used old painted chandeliers as hanging pieces and wall art. She splattered paint on old suitcases to decorate a kitchen. She threw crystal marbles in the gravel in her meditation garden. They reflected enough sparkle and light to bring the ground to life. I remarked at one point that she must be single. My experience with my husbands were that they controlled how I decorated to a large extent. They didn’t like colors or eccentricity. I was told that she was married, and her husband let her do her thing. I want that. And, maybe, I created that by acquiescing myself to their wishes. If they’d truly loved me for who I was, they would have loved my creation. I felt energized and comforted in this woman’s space, and I am really grateful that being there reminded me how important it is to create an environment that I like even if it’s a bit off kilter.
I’m writing this to remind myself that it’s important that I feel my way through this. I can’t manage my way through it. If I do, it will impact my quality of life for the next year or so. What I’ve found is that when my surroundings resonate with me, I have to expend less energy to be me. It’s more comforting. It helps me accept who I am from the time I get up to the time I fall asleep. In fact, it’s not just acceptance, it feels like it allows me to embrace myself. I fell in love with the kitchen in the house when I walked in. It didn’t have a dishwasher, so I used my project management skills to deal with my landlord and get that sorted out. But, now, I’m going to let the kitchen and me create something that is uniquely ours. The house has a personality, too. It chose me, and I chose it. There’s magic in that. I can’t wait to see what happens.