I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been painting. Obsessively painting. I wouldn’t quite call it manic on a clinical level, but yes, it had to be done.
Looking back, this has happened to me before. I paint when something isn’t quite right. The day after I had a miscarriage, I painted all of the hallway paneling in the old house. I should have been resting. I should have been crying. Instead, I painted.
Then there was when my then husband went away on vacation with his club when we had many young children at home. This, to me, was the perfect time to paint — everything– bold colors. He came home to a purple kitchen, a hunter green eat in area and a bright sky blue play area. I think I was jealous of his freedom, so, stuck at home, I changed my surroundings. All while caring for multiple toddlers with open cans of paint around. Perhaps not well-advised, but it had to be done.
Later, after my husband left for good (or so I thought . . . but I digress . . . See Surveillance with My Mother and the When My Husband Moved Back Home — The Tale of Three Carries ) I slapped beige paint over all of those colors in order to make my kaleidoscope house neutral for potential buyers. My children didn’t help me at all. They resented the change, hated the beige.
“We’re colorful people,” they said.
They were right. We are colorful people, but the HGTV gods told me I had to hide my crazy (Oops, I mean color).
Accordingly, all the evidence of my color rebellion against my husband’s hobbies and freedom was – neutralized.
I promised the children, however, that when we moved to our new house, we would bring color back. As that little hoarders house smelled so badly, I painted right away, see That Hoarder’s Smell, and I went bold: I had red living room, and the TV (family room) was a dark slate blue.
At one point I had an orange accent wall in my bedroom.
But lately, my little house had been pissing me off. Well, everything has been pissing me off. The red was making me angry, I think. I’m already bitter, I don’t need to see red, literally. The dark blue was making me feel sad and closed in, like I was living in an elevator.
My home’s overall darkness screamed despair and denial and hinted at failure, or maybe that was me . . .
I moved to this little hoarders’ house so that my kids could stay in the same schools. I had to move, and it was all I could afford. I was lucky to find it. I’m fine with living small, but I hate the neighborhood — which is on the lower end of the socio-economic scale — and it shows. Also, we are six tall people, and do our fair share of stepping over each other and our stuff. But I can’t move until they graduate, not even to a nearby neighborhood, unless there’s a big chunk of change in my near future. I’m still dealing with divorce debt. Freedom ain’t free.
If I wanted to pull them out of school and move across country — well, I can’t do that either. I’m divorced; I’m not allowed to move without my ex-husband’s permission. I’m stuck.
Until my youngest kids turn 18, my options are severely limited. Yes, I’m blessed to have a roof over my head, but sometimes it feels more incarceration than protection from the elements.
However, HGTV, the teachings of Feng Shui, and countless blogs suggest that if I change my surroundings I’ll change my life.
I took a shot.
So I’ve been painting, lightening up the color, lightening up my life. It goes along with my constant search for non-medicinal treatments for anxiety and depression.
I have to say, the rooms do appear bigger, brighter, calmer.
Still, I need color, so the plan is to get the color back through art and accessories. That’s the plan anyway.
It’s a good plan.
Well, it was a good plan.
Now I’m on the other side of not quite clinically manic, back to the depressed side of things. Suddenly I’m too tired. I don’t feel like hanging my old pictures or scouring yard sales for something colorful, because, at the end of the day, I’ll still be here. And whatever I do, someone in my house will hate it and loudly voice his or her displeasure. So why bother, right?
It’s like hanging posters in a jail cell. Sure, it helps, but the most important thing on the wall is the calendar, marking off the days until release.
Just Me With . . . a bright new look, but not complete. Methinks the angry red and the crying blues are bleeding through a bit. But, hell, I’m giving it a shot.
Release date? Sometime in 2017.
I grew up in a duplex with three brothers, and I found myself back there after my divorce (family owned property, cheap rent, yada yada yada) with my two kids, and I wondered how in the heck a family of six ever inhabited such a small place (which was also in a neighborhood that has gotten progressively crappier over the years). Finally I couldn’t do it anymore (is there really such a thing as cheap rent? Nope.) and my fiance and I pooled all the money we had and bought a house in another city 20 mile away. And you know what? The kids are STILL compaining- “the downstairs bathroom is too cold, my room is too small, I hate the stove” etc… I don’t know if that gives you any modicum of comfort, but you could live in shangri la, and the kids will still complain, so paint until your hearts content. You may not be able to change the space outside your house, but you can change the space inside your house, and it’s what’s inside that really counts 🙂
Don’t I know that kids complain! And I know they’ll complain anywhere. They’ll be fine. It was more me — I needed a change of interior scenery for me. So I lightened it up. It worked, I just ran out of steam and had some other stuff that happened that stressed me out and lost my mojo. But I can’t let that stop me from trying. You’re right, I can’t change the neighborhood, but I can do what I can inside. I’m glad I painted. I really need to get that art work up though. Art matters.
Look, I’m no expert because I haven’t been through what you’ve been through, but it sounds to me like all that paint is just a big old beige bandaid over your unhappy feelings. You have so much creative energy; why not use it in a way that’ll really make a difference? Andrea’s right: the kids will complain, but as long as they always know you love them, that doesn’t matter. How about putting all that energy into some craft or other that you can sell? Or how about doing some volunteer work and using that energy to help people who are worse off than you? Or write a book! You’re a great writer, after all! Then you’d feel more like there’s a POINT to what you do rather than wasting years waiting for your kids to grow up. Go for it!
Thank you! Well, all that painting did have a point. I wanted to feel better and increase the creative energy in my space for both for me and my kids (having them do homework in such a dark room wasn’t good, even with lighting). I think it worked to a certain extent. It may be a bandaid, but bandaids help protect against infection. Thank you about the writing comment. I needed a boost for that as well and have been reading about how changes in scenery helps in general. I think I got tired and had a bout of depression which is a chronic thing I deal with. I don’t think it’s been a waste, I just need to feel okay about doing it just for me. Helping others, especially random acts of kindness is also something I’ve been doing to beat the blues. And I know the feeling stuck part isn’t something everybody can identify with, and that talking about it can be a risk, but it is what it is.
Thanks for your comment!
I’m glad that you’ve found an outlet to deal with whatever needs dealing with! I am pissed that you have to feel incarcerated for the next four years. It pisses me off even more that the ex- has to notified and give permission if you decide that you and your babes need a life change, like moving across the country. Did he get your permission to throw your lives into an unwanted tailspin? I hate when the person whose always done the right thing (and what they signed up for) is punished. SORRY! I started thinking about my own situation for a minute there!
Much luck to you and the babes. This too shall pass!
I agree with 4awritermom,
He gets to control you! Wrong!
I rarely paint because painting does not do for me what it does for you. I have to have light, so all walls are white downstairs except for my bedroom. Oh, I did paint the living room, not a room I even often enter, Boticelli Red.
However, you are right about mood altering colors. Red is not what you or your kids need. I would just die in beige. I get my colors from furnishings. Yes, I did paint the wooden kitchen floor a cheery yellow because I need help being awake or cheery in the morning.
I make new sofa pillows. Sometimes, they are something I will not use, do not go with anything in the house. But, I get the same creative boost and visual boost that you do. I understand your need to use something besides meds for anxiety relief. it is so relaxing to me. I do believe it is important to find a means besides meds to deal with life.
The painting has helped the mood. When others hear that I’ve painted they usually say, but I liked the red. But the few who have seen it say it makes the rooms seem bigger and more homey. The red was too intense. I’m bringing in color in accessories and wall decor. I’ve also moved art around and removed some items. We all go into the formerly red room more often. Before we only went in there to play the piano but now just today my son was sitting in there doing absolutely nothing (and he rarely leaves his room). The formerly blue family room is less suffocating, but still needs some colorful artwork. It’s a work in progress, but it has definitely changed the mood around here.
I absolutely LOVE to paint. Paint is my friend it can change your mood in one fell swoop…even my oldest son comes home now sniffs the air and says…oh did you paint?? Not hey did you bake, scrub floors…no paint. If you know how to do it right paint can be your friend. It never goes on upside down backwards or inside out. With the right tools it behaves. It’s like getting a second chance over and over and over…I support my habit through local paint give aways and http://www.freecycle.org. The only embarrassing thing I do…(well that I can admit here) is that I am constantly picking up someones else’s junk…to the great disdane of my sons…please mum…can’t you wait to drop us off and come back and get thaaaaat! Uhmmmm no move over I know I can get this broken 12 place sitting harvest table in here somehow…so with that said…Don’t just stand there…paint something!