I am sitting here writing to you from my new home.
The first space I have called mine in more than a year.
My eyes scan the room and I envision a fresh coat of white paint, Moroccan textiles, and tropical leaves leaning in tall glass vases.
I imagine stacks of big glossy books
rows of colorful vintage cocktail glasses
piles of textural pillows
walls of carefully curated art
and I feel compelled to transform this space that surrounds me.
I wonder if they sell cozy white bedding in nearby Limon?
It couldn’t hurt to visit a fabric store in San Jose…
Perhaps the owner will let me paint if I show her my portfolio.
I see myself in pearls and snakeskin pumps assembling appetizers while bossa nova plays in the background
pouring prosecco into cut crystal flutes
pausing momentarily to offer my guests a glowing smile
modestly accepting their compliments on my cooking, my outfit, my home.
The art of entertaining and playing house is something that for me has always come naturally. At best it was a form of expression. I felt creative. I had fun. But in many ways, it meant so much more than that. At times it meant everything.
It was my sanctity from my own internal storm.
It was my fixation and obsession when I needed distraction and control.
It was my validation that I was special and worthy of praise.
It was my comfort in knowing that I could transform anything into something beautiful if I worked hard enough.
I looked to my surroundings to improve whatever internal state I embodied at the moment. I thought that if I created a space so beautiful, so tranquil, so perfect, then maybe I could feel beauty, tranquility, and perfection. If I orchestrated a party, a dinner, an event so lively, so entertaining, so enjoyable, then perhaps I might feel alive, entertained, and full of joy.
And sometimes it worked. Sometimes it really did.
So sitting here, in a damp bikini, while the rain hails relentlessly outside my wooden Caribbean home, my feet propped on top of my dirty backpack, unsure of the direction of my life or the accuracy of my decisions, hesitant to sit still for more than a moment, it is easy to feel the urge to transform my space.
But I know that the real place I find comfort is in my own body.
Navigating unfamiliar locations, situations, interactions.
Owning as little as possible.
Free from possessions and needs.
Able to shift and change when I am ready, happy to sit still and rest when I am not.
So instead of seeking transformation
I will accept what does surround me and see its beauty.
I will settle into where I am now and find tranquility.
I will stop judging and recognize that everything is already perfect.
I will feel alive when my bare feet wade through flooded streets and plant on slick muddy ground
when my hands graze the swaying banana leaves
when I stop to smell the wild hibiscus flowers.
I will find constant entertainment in the freedom of living each day exactly how I choose.
I will be overcome with joy by the blessing that is my absolutely privileged, phenomenal life.
Wherever I am
whatever it looks like
however it feels
I am home.
And when I am ready to move again, I will.
Because I own nothing
and nothing owns me.
Photos of my home in Seattle by Brendan Paul