Thursday, May 30, 2013

Remodling the Bathroom and Drowning my Teenage Dreams

Our bathroom is a bit of a cave--cold and dark with strange angles for bugs and dust and no room for a rag. The concrete cistern sucks cold air into the house like its primary job is to gather all things chilly rather than the rain that falls on the roof.

The pump within the cistern always seems to shut off when I'm in the shower ready to wash the shampoo from my hair. I climb out of the claw foot tub like a sudsy dish rag, walk through the kitchen to the green house, leaving puddles of coconut scented water behind me, and flip on the pump. Then I put a pot of water under the faucet of the kitchen sink and drain the remaining water from the pipes to activate the pump. Five minutes later I'm back to rinsing the shampoo from my hair.

When I describe this to most people it sounds like hell, but I'm a good sport.  I realize it's less than optimal, especially because we have eight interns coming to live with us this summer. I also figure that I already fill my complaining quota in the winter-- I am not a good sport about the freezing cold outhouse.

So, Dev and I are remodeling the bathroom which includes a new 3,000 gallon stainless steel cistern--outside, an indoor composting toilet, a giant window between the greenhouse and the bathroom, a sauna, and if I'm lucky, an instant hot water heater for the days when we don't have enough sun for solar hot water or the need for a fire to heat our water.

All of this is great in theory, but my New England upbringing did not prepare me for this. Apparently Dev isn't impressed with my hard, hard work on Pintrest and the color samples I bring home from the hardware store.

We've spent the last month digging trenches for the piping and I've learned a thing or two about myself in the process. When I was a teen I passed my prep school days dreaming about farming, building my own house, birthing babies, and knitting myself an empire. I slowly acknowledged that I suck at knitting, my already tangled body is not capable of farming full-time, and I am far too free-spirited to be an on-call midwife.

Well, to put the final nail in the coffin of my teenage dreams, I'm realizing that the prospects of me ever building a house from scratch are nonexistent. And though the teenage version of myself might denounce me as a yuppy disguised by dirt and callused hands, I kindly tell her to shut up and keep digging.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hustling for Love

To put it simply, this is the story of a girl who wanted to be liked but hadn't fully settled into liking herself.

Here, people are like horses. Self-doubt once draped inside me from shoulder to rib, liver to sacrum like an unwound film strip. Though I perfected pleasing, pretending, and proving, their horse instincts heard the fluttering film inside, knowing the difference between trying and being.

I started dating L, the tall and slender one who lived in a shack and eroded my emotional armor with a river of playful, contemplative conversation. L had just gotten out of a seven-year relationship and ours drew me into the public eye. I was far from winning most popular before we took-up dating and it became evident there was a solid camp of people who did not like me, including, unsurprisingly, the ex. 

I wanted them to like me. Badly. All the time. Especially the people who didn't like me. I wanted them to adore me. I dreamt about it. I obsessed over it. I talked about it constantly even though I knew it was beyond boring. I threw myself pity parties where I told myself that it wasn't fair.  They should like me!! 

And they didn't.

What do you do when you don't feel liked? Well, five-years ago I said kiss-ass, walk on egg shells, cower, roll on your belly, and get small. I traded authenticity hoping for love in return.

At that point in time, I told myself that I got smaller so I wouldn't threaten the people who didn't like me. In truth, it was a great escape--I could blame them for my unhappiness rather than actually facing my own uncertainty-- Am I Worthy of  Love?????????? 

A similar situation has rolled around again, five years later, and my desire to be liked is bubbling like a fart in water. Even though I have obsessive thoughts about what I can do to regain favor I am aware of the underlying, nagging question of worthiness, and this time, I won't hustle for love.