Must you shine so damn brightly? I remember a friend thumbing through one of my books and settling on this line, saying it like sermon. We were in my apartment, a time when the evening fell from the gloaming to daylight, and we kept hitting repeat on the CD. Back then we reveled in creating melodramas. We were the tele novella kind. Although it was a time when too much wine was had and so many things done were best left forgotten, I couldn’t help but hear the edge in her voice. And years later when we parted ways, she sat across from me in a restaurant and said that being my friend was so damn hard. I moved pasta around my plate, biting my lip wondering whether I should shout or cry, and she kept telling me that my success was becoming too much for her to bear. That she felt she was disappearing into the great, giant shadow that was me.
What do I say to this? How do I respond? I earned this, all of this. I’ve always worked for everything I had. There was no other way.
We were in Soho and the sidewalk was uneven beneath my feet; I felt as if the ground could give way any minute, drag me under, swallow me up. The silence was painful and you could hear, amidst the frenzy of Lafayette, the click of our shoes on the pavement. The glare. The sun was so damn bright. We were squinting at things, trying to adjust our eyes to the light. Back then we were on the same subway line, and the idea that I would have to ride a train with someone who had basically told me that she couldn’t be my friend because I was too much for her to fucking bear?!, was unbearable.
So I stepped out into the street and took a cab. When I arrived home, I walked into darkness. Lackluster walls and a couch frayed at the seams. The bookcases from an old love, an old home, stood ominous, and I sat on the floor, shut my eyes and wanted to burn it all down. Because the one place to which I sought refuge was a reminder of all of the mistakes and heartache that had come before.
If you don’t know me, really know me, you couldn’t possibly know what this home transformation means to me. I can’t even explain it to my dear friend and decorator, Chris, because there’s no context. But I will say this, my home is becoming my shelter. I come home and I’m swathed in comfort and quiet and this, THIS, puts my heart on pause.
The couch has been replaced with something soft, velvety and blue. The bookcases are now shorter and whitewashed. Dried lavender fills the vases on my coffee table and my cat has found a new home on my bench (Overstock.com!).
Yesterday I went on a shopping trip and went to Home Goods, Marshall’s, Target and Home Depot. From mustard plush pillows to feather-soft towels and shower curtains to pavers for my outdoor umbrella — it feels good to bear witness, to see my home take shape and form. To not apologize for all that I’ve worked so very hard for. To feel good about the place my home is becoming and the woman I keep evolving to be.