My husband and I did a flurry of cleaning this weekend in preparation for putting our Christmas decorations up next weekend (while we no longer consider ourselves Christian, we still love to celebrate and have combined the season into a glorious hybrid holiday, but my spirituality is not something that needs to be discussed now so we’ll just leave it for the moment). And part of our cleaning involved FINALLY decorating our bedroom. When we first moved into our current apartment, our son was still sleeping in our room, and the tops of our dressers became depositories for his diaper-changing accessories and then became the dumping ground for a myriad of other things (clean clothes that we were too tired or too afraid of making noise to put away, old shopper’s club cards from when we lived on the west coast, etc). He moved out of our room for at least part of the night over a year ago, yet somehow decorating our own space just seemed like the last thing we had time to do. We also truly believed that we would only be in this apartment one year, but then signed a lease for at least another year this summer. We keep telling ourselves that Fate will never let us leave if we don’t unpack everything!
It feels amazing to have our pictures hung, our dressers decorated, my jewelry organized and not in a giant messy pile. I’ve actually made our bed for five days running now, including the pillow shams! Then I started feeling a little ashamed about feeling so GOOD about having our shinies out, like I should be better than that, above such material goods. But my husband reminded me that this is our feng shui. We artists are inherently tactile people. I see something, and I want to touch it and soak it in. I thrive in texture and color and shape. It’s also such a lovely mixture of “stuff” that we have. New prints that we’ve purchased from various art shows and conventions we’ve been a part of, antique statues mixing with new figurines, a fountain that was a gift to us from my brother-in-law, a reverse blade samurai-sword on a stand from a costume my husband wore one year for Halloween, lots of cat figures (both antique and new) as I’ve been drawn to cats since I was a little girl and have found big cats to often be my spirit guides in meditation, pretty stones and polished shell pieces found at the beach mixing with gifts of crystals from Pagan friends that sit next to a statue of the virgin Mary crushing the snake and a rosary from my great-grandmother… it is a glorious riot of things to feed our senses, and it’s actually less than it used to be as we now have a toddler with a reach that grows daily to contend with.
We’ve survived the past year and 1/2 without this decoration in our room, without many pictures hung, with boxes still piled in the corner. But having a place of sanctuary to return to each night means so much. My creative drive has been soaring, my libido is through the roof (something that’s been very touch and go since giving birth – lack of sleep and financial stress will do that for you), and I finally am starting to feel like this apartment may be an okay home instead of just a dwelling place.
The next time we move will hopefully be to the house we will live in for at least the next decade, if not longer. We’ve moved way too many times since 2008. But wherever that house is, and whatever work needs to be done, I think we should focus on getting our bedrooms done first so we can all have that place to retire to and dream.
I’m curious, what do you value in your life, as far as your material possessions are concerned? I can go days without my cell phone (sacrilege!). I often go all weekend without checking my emails/social network sites. We went several months without a TV (we would watch shows/movies online occasionally). But I hold little pretty things and art work and gifts from those who know and love me close to my heart. I think even if I lived in a tribal society, I would be collecting pretty stones and painting or drawing or carving anything I could to fill that need I have to decorate. I don’t really think that makes me materialistic in the modern sense of the world, but I do wonder if I could be happy living a minimalist lifestyle.