I’m at the stage in my life where I think I have to start calling myself an adult. I know, I know; I’m married and have been out of high school for eight years now (my gawd), but that’s not really what I’m talking about. What I mean is that there are seriously no vestiges of adolescence/early adulthood left in my life. Not the crazy swings of emotion, not the desire to go out and party on the weekends, and the biggest thing, the lack of comfort with my usual mode of living.
In college and my first few years living on my own, I was not remotely interested in anything domestic. Messy rooms, gross kitchens, cheap-ass ratty furniture, wrinkled shirts, dirty sheets, and muddy floors didn’t concern me in the least. My idea of decorating was a Wal-Mart purple satin duvet (my bed looked like it belonged in a whorehouse from Gone With the Wind) and a bunch of photos scotch-taped to the wall. The most decorative item I had in my trailer was a blanket from the Dollar Store that depicted a pack of howling wolves. Seriously upper class stuff.
By the time I made it to Interlochen, I improved a little, if only because my space was so small I realized I had to keep it clean. I started to learn to cook for myself, sometimes. I had to dress like a professional. But I still got away with never ironing anything. Baby steps.
By the time we moved to Chicago last year, I was starting to feel the urge to make our space….nice. As in, I started to care about whether our apartment was clean, whether it was a warm and inviting space to be in. I started looking at websites like Apartment Therapy and Young House Love. I started caring a lot.
But ultimately I didn’t really do much with the place. I mean, we had a lot going on. But after moving to our new apartment here in Raleigh, I’ve started realizing that maybe the problem wasn’t that I was busy; it was that I really don’t know how to do a lot of things. I don’t know how to thrift on craigslist for quality finds, and we certainly can’t afford new ones. I don’t know how to iron a pair of pants, or put a room together aesthetically. I don’t know how to keep a spotless house. And I never did, except now it’s bothering me because I want to live in a space that brightens my day, and I want to look like a put-together person.
It’s more than just the house stuff. It’s things like organization, too. I’m great when it comes to staying on top of my workload, but keeping personal papers organized? I have one accordion file folder that I just shove everything that seems vaguely important into. Two months after moving, all of our DVDs are still living in a cardboard box behind the TV. We are eating off of a vinyl-topped folding table from Target. Nothing I fold ever stays folded. I got sticky tack and hung up a few posters while Greg was in Asheville. 24 hours later they fell down. Now there is a fine sheen of dog hair on everything in the place EXCEPT the special brush I ordered online, which seems to magically repel it. Go figure.
I think all of this is going to be a personal project for me over the next year. This has nothing to do with being a “wife” or a “domestic woman.” For me it’s about taking pride in where I live.
So that’s where I am: the howling-wolf blankets are a thing of the past. Now it’s the awkward phase between that and a place I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show guests. I think I’m going to need help. I think I’m going to need people to take pity on me and show me how to do things.
Maybe I’ll call it my second adolescence.