I feel silly, and embarrassed, to write that, because art museums make me nervous sometimes; because I gave up on being an art person in high school; because I remember the several-sizes-too-big jeans and baggy K-Mart tees I once wore; because I know how rarely I clean out the sink or even brush my hair; because for all my yearning for mountains again, mountains, Gandalf, there have been years since leaving my puppy-dog and pretty neighborhood when I didn’t take any walks just for the sake of walking and looking; because I know there are things more important than beauty, like equity and justice and peace; and because beauty isn’t a word that comes naturally to my tongue.
Of course, beauty is many things to many people. I know not everyone would agree that my apartment, with its weird, green linoleum countertops and the crooked, widely-spaced boards that make up the floors, is better-looking than the ones you find in the brand-new high rises or in the boxy, post-war apartment buildings scattered across this town. You might not call the many layers of old white paint caked onto the baseboards of my apartment beautiful, and I would agree with you if you didn’t, at least as an isolated feature.
But despite the built-in grime that comes with a rental like mine—built in 1858 and managed with minimal upkeep for maximum profit for decades, at least—for me, this apartment is pleasant, while so many newer, cleaner spaces are not. Sitting in the little grey room that used to be my office, I’d think of the windows and the gentle lamps and the old walls and the well-situated couches and my tiny white desk by our bed, and I yearned for them. Sitting in the bright, tall, walls-of-windows office I have now, I still yearn sometimes.
I gather strength from my home, from the way I’ve made it look and the ways I’ve made it mine. Continue reading “Home the Way I Want It”