The llama transformation project finally came to a close. I’ve been writing more, so art progresses at a different pace. And then there is the fact that I am an extremely visual person. Let me explain.
For me, being visual can lead to somewhat compulsive behaviors. An example from childhood will suffice to make this point: from a very young age, I could not stop myself from repeatedly moving the furniture around the bedroom I shared with my sister in search of the most harmonious visual balance, or what felt like it, until I’d need a change of scenery again.
I’d shut the door and spend hours re-arranging, by myself. Thinking back, I almost have to wonder if I did not develop momentary herculean strength at such times, for I remember moving the beds and other heavy items without the least sense of struggle. Determination and a focused mind must be the actual cause. If it had been the 90’s at the time, instead of the 60’s, my parents would surely have dragged me to a therapist.
Since my husband passed away, three years ago, I have been rearranging our space, little by little. When I get into these moods, I can shuffle picture frames around on the walls until after midnight. My surroundings must be just right before I can close my eyes and leave the day behind. Incidentally, I cannot leave dinner dishes in the sink before bedtime either. I realize this is not exactly normal, but have decided that these are merely a few personal idiosyncrasies. I am not going to lose sleep over it… though I would lose sleep over a poorly positioned chair… ha! ha!
How one shape leads to another, how the back of a chair leads to the next room, how the bed first appears as one approaches the opening between my living room and bedroom, the rhythms of vertical and horizontal lines and how they relate to each other… all of this seems extremely sharp and significant to me. The least error in visual flow (as I see it that is) and I’ll move things about for three days straight until I get it right. Recently, it was the bedroom that caught my attention.
When we moved here, we purchased a very large bed and bulky bed box. It served us well, but I crave space and it has been bugging me since I am now alone. Also, this was where Roderick spent most of the last three weeks of his life. In a sense, it still resonated with a chapter I need to leave behind. I decided that splurging a bit in this case would be a step in a healthy direction. That, and the fact that the moment I set my mind on changing this, well, you guessed it, I just could not look back.
First, I spent days standing in the doorway, visualizing what I wanted to accomplish and trying to make the most of the project. In the end, I got a nice and affordable platform bed on legs, so you can see the floor escape underneath. I also offered myself a new five-drawer dresser.
Our original bed had a headboard, so it was set against the wall with a few feet left on each side. This new bed is set parallel to the wall where the headboard had been, with room to walk all around it. This is so refreshing. I kept the mattress we had, because there is no way I could afford one of the same quality, but the new platform is what makes the whole difference. In fact, it is so visually perfect that I believe this is the first piece of furniture I ever assemble, set in place and walk away from feeling it is exactly what and where it should be. Marley and Mathias immediately began to play hide and seek around and under the new bed. Their joy was another high score in my book. Come to think of it, so far Marley sleeps with us more often since I moved the bed.
The dresser was a different story. I think I moved it back and forth between two possible locations at least ten times in a period of 48 hours. Seriously. I’d come out of the washroom ready for bed, after midnight, and the sight of it would bug me, though moments earlier I had slid in the last drawer (again) and thought, “this is it.” Not. Mathias was already curled on the bed, and there I was, removing drawers, pulling the area rug to one side, moving the empty, heavy dresser a few feet away… and back. I heard him sigh. He must be so glad to be a dog, so he can’t be called upon to help!
In the process of rearranging the bedroom, I decided to let go of more stuff and ended up filling two large lawn bags full of clothes I never wear and various items that need a new story with someone else. Thank goodness for Goodwill. I also finally let go of many items of clothing that belonged to Roderick. I had a fantastic idea: I cut out the pockets from a couple of his favorite Land’s End, flannel shirts so I could use them as pouches for storing personal items. Now I am not holding on to bulky shirts anymore, yet still have something meaningful to hold. I am rather proud of myself for taking this giant step.
Though this is not the first time I rearrange my space, something suddenly started making sense to me this time around. Now, I understand that my incessant need to rearrange the bedroom I shared with my sister for 15 years, as a child, was probably due to an irresistible need to have a sense of my own space. I have taken that need forward into the rest of my life so that, to this day, I cannot help redefining my space, again and again.
It is a dysfunction. Yet at the same time it leads to highly meditative and creative moments that have the power to heal and that affect how I work, and what I create, positively.