Just not the soccer mom. . .
Growing up I did not feel at home in my “home.” My very talented family did not understand their one, quiet, very bookwormish daughter. I responded by retreating into my room. The practice of making a private den out of a small space is a habit I have carried into every subsequent place I have lived. I require very little space to make myself at home as long as that space is truly mine, all mine.
In the years right after I moved out, life was inexpensive enough to either have my own room with a roommate or have my own apartment. Unlike some women I never felt the pressure to be with a man just to get half-off on rent. In fact up until my first marriage I felt rootless not homeless. I was enjoying the great adventure of trying new things, switching careers blithely, segueing in and out of school, seeing a bit of the world.
The irony of that first marriage was a huge three bedroom two bathroom house with detached garage on 2.5 acres in my name only and I didn’t have a square foot to call my own. The garage was overflowing with my first husband’s storage. Our cars languished in the drive way. His office spilled into my kitchen; there was barely counter space to crack an egg. My son had his own room, but the “extra” bedroom was preserved as a shrine for friends and relatives who rarely visited. For the first time in my adult life I had no space to call my own. Even my computer was invaded by that husband who edited a rough draft I hadn’t felt ready to show anyone. I emotionally withdrew. I ceased reading and writing. Inside I was dying.
It was my house, but not my home. My “friends” (note the quotes) called me crazy to leave the house with Bob. I just wanted out. Real friends don’t put me down, they hold me up. When barely a year later his well went dry I knew I had the last laugh leaving Bob with that house. I might have gotten a room mate to help with the mortgage but the well? That’s apparently insurmountable. Over a decade later he still trucks in water monthly, lol.
Where I live now is a rental. But it feels like home. I have my own space. I have not one, but two computers and an iPad and nobody, but nobody breaks into ’em. I have my own bedroom where I can read, write, meditate and practice yoga to my heart’s content. Heck, for what it’s worth I even have my own bathroom. I’ve got a partner who’s happy to see me. Despite losing everything I’m crazy happy right now. Happier than I was in Hawaii. Happier than I’ve ever been.
Quite frankly I can be happy here, but only because of my partner and my son. I wouldn’t stay here if they were gone. . . which I guess really means home is where they are. It’s not a building or a place. As corny as it sounds I feel at home with my current partner. Lord knows I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
What I learned from my brace of failed marriages is that most people who think they could be happy with me — wouldn’t be. They are imagining the level of decorum and politeness that characterizes my professional life would be present 24/7. At home, I like to voice an opinion. When I’m showing property to some Trump supporter or fundamentalist Christian guy I’m quiet, do you know what I mean? I’m amiable. And I’m most of all trying to change the subject to something palatable. But in my home life, I can’t have that. I know I have to be able to be myself, and I have, in my current partner, found someone ok with me, even with all my irritating foibles.
Yes, I am a long winded story teller. Yes, I have a terrible habit of retelling a story everyone knows. Yes I have unusual eating habits. And I’d rather read a book than go to a club. I need at least a few hours alone every single day. You can see why my husbands were disappointed. . . I’m just not the soccer mom people took me to be based on my performance at the bank. Not that there is anything wrong with being a soccer mom! When the other moms share how much they like to read — there’s always that awkward moment. . .you know, when I have to admit I don’t like reading Danielle Steele or Georgette Heyer or anything with Fabio on the cover. I’m more at home with Homer. Simpson or Greek, I like ’em both.