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July 2015

opening up to the universe


as we get closer to the mid-point of the year, i'm realizing that this has been a hard one on me. i'm exhausted. i feel beat down. depression that i've controlled and kept in its cage for a dozen years has tried desperately to escape and chase me down. i've let go of relationships that do nothing but hurt me, and have tried to be mindful to nurture the ones that build me up. i've also learned to become more vocal about my needs and concerns, and advocate for my own well-being and desires alongside everything i do for everyone else.

now that i am in my 40s and have one child who is getting ready to leave the nest in the next few years, it has started to sink in that i have no idea what is next. 20 years ago, i had it all planned out. super organized, hyper-focused, type-a ... i had a goal and by god i was going to get to it.

and then i didn't.

i can't tell you where i went off the rails, but somehow i started to put the needs of others ahead of my own - my husband's career and ambitions, my kids' schedules, etc. ... everything else seemed to need my attention more urgently than anything i wanted. and suddenly, it's 20 years later, my husband is a success, my kids are great, and i'm left looking at the rest of my life and wondering, "now what?"

it all came to a head a few weeks ago. marc and i were having our typical bi-annual "disagreement", and - bless his heart - he was trying his best to be a help and be supportive. but the problem was, he didn't know what needed to be helped or supported, so i heard his words as patronizing and clueless. which, of course, didn't help anything.

and i heard myself saying the words, "sometimes i just want out."

in all honesty: i don't. i don't want out. i love my husband, i love my kids, and i love my life. however, i am not IN any of it. i am stage crew, in the black shirt, invisible in the dark yet maneuvering all of the ropes and props that makes those on stage look flawless. and i sit there in the darkness, going through the checklist of all the things i do well, and think, "what the hell?? why am i doing nothing with the talents i've been given? i'm in my 40s and have nothing to show for it."

yes, i have a lovely family and a lovely home and i can make a kick-ass pot roast. and if that was all i'd wanted for my life, then that would have been great. but it isn't. i wanted more.

somehow, my subconscious figured it out before i did, and in the middle of sobbing, i confessed to marc, "this isn't who i was supposed to be."

turns out, it's not that i want "out" of my life ... i want "in".

i'm not a 1950s housewife. i never relished the idea of being a stay-home mom, whose day revolved around my children. deep down, i know i am capable of more, and have just never done it out of fear that putting myself first would look bad. or that i might be good at something and would then have to sustain that. my life hasn't been full of successes or praise, so i think i'm genuinely confused by it and scared of it when it happens. so i don't let it happen very often, and don't offer up my best for fear that it will raise expectations that i am bound to dash. and then i'll be right back where i started, only more disappointed.

there are times when i wish i could start over, make different choices, follow a different path. but i can't. instead, i need to find inspiration in fearless women like julia child, who was nearly 40 when she said, "you know what? i'm gonna go to cooking school."

there is a lot of maneuvering that would need to take place in my life in order for me to pursue anything - marc still travels, we still have no family nearby to help out with the kids, henry doesn't yet drive, there is still school and transportation and swimming and meals, et cetera, to work around. and much of that is why i haven't done anything for or with myself. i don't want the kids to get the short end of the stick when there are so few years left with them. i know many families in which both parents work and yet they manage to coordinate the kids' schedules. however, in most cases, either they have family nearby, and/or they are both home in time for activities. if marc is in dallas or san diego or boston, he can't by home by 5:00 to be part of the swimming/meal/homework/bedtime conveyor belt.

which is the wall i beat my head against every time. there are hours in my day when i could do something, but i haven't figured out what to do when that "something" butts up against all of the roadblocks in my way. and in his desire to help, marc suggests, "i'm sure there is something you could do for a few hours a day, something that would reconnect you with adults." but it has nothing to do with being with adults; i don't need to be with adults. truthfully, i don't need to be with people. and i don't want a job for "something to do"; i want something to do with my life. that's different than part-time at starbucks.

or maybe i just learn to let go of the frustration and discontentment, and make peace with the fact that in this lifetime, i didn't get to be what i thought i might be. i'll get to my late 40s and find a hobby instead of a career. play the cards in my hand instead of reshuffling. but then i wind up at the end of my life wondering why i didn't do more with it when i had the chance.

i know where my passions lie, the trick is figuring out what to do with them, and how to get over the hurdle that i have placed in front of myself, the one that says, "if you don't do it the right way then you are a fake, a poseur." i've been so convinced my entire life that action requires education and preparation, but maybe that isn't the case? i read this post today and it screamed at me in the way that only a serendipitous message from the universe can.

i just need to do. where i am, with what a i have.

stop putting off, stop feeling unworthy, stop feeling unprepared.

just DO.

if it's meant to be, a way will show itself, right?

the inertia needs to be replaced by excitement and possibility, and that will all start when i stop being afraid to say, "this is what i want and this is what i need."

i'm an adult; i've earned the right to stand up for myself and make the rest of my life what i want it to be. and i need to take ownership over the skills i have, work hard to teach myself what i need to know better, and put myself out there. because the universe may speak to me, but if i keep it to myself, then i have only myself to blame.

a 'tween room: rough draft

harper is in her last full week of fourth grade, which means she is thisclose to leaving "little girl" behind and jumping into "'tweenhood." right on cue, she's asking for a more grown-up room.

the daybed that she's had since she was three ... the bed that has been her comfort zone, the one she refused to give up after we moved ... is now "too small", and she's ready to update everything. no more pink. no more toys. (except for littlest pet shop ... those aren't going anywhere.) no more "girly" room. she is now old enough to have an opinion, and she's confidently putting that opinion out there to make it happen.

we were talking about colors the other day, and she really wants gray and dark blue and aqua and yellow. i can totally get behind those. then we were flipping through some catalogs and scrolling through pinterest and came across a few things that she's put on her "THIS! THIS! THIS!" list.

her first big request: the cole & sons birch tree wallpaper.


i love it as much as she does - i've actually had it pinned for more than a year - and love that i can get a removable version from amazon. might be a good way to have the look without anything being semi-permanent and twice as expensive. we like the above idea: a chair rail and deeper wall color below the trees. i also like the idea of doing the paper on one wall, and color on the other three ... i'm finding myself inspired by this room right now:

a third thought: wallpaper on the lower portion of the wall, and add a shelf for art above her bed.


we already have some great prints in her room of wolves and foxes and peacocks, so this might be a fun option. it would also work great with ...

her second request: robert allen folkland fabric in aquatint. we saw this fabric on a headboard in the land of nod catalog, and harp loved it. the colors are right, and the animals are adorable (and she is SO the animal girl).Full-french-seam-headboard-folkland-aquatint

the fabric immediately reaffirmed her color palette:


i have an old desk that i'm in the process of stripping and refinishing for her room, and now that we have a direction, we're trying to figure out what color to paint it. i'm pulling for the yellow, she's leaning toward the darker blue.

we'll keep her white ikea dresser and likely the bookshelves, so the other big pieces are set. since she's ready to move up to a bigger bed, bedding will also need to be purchased.


| west elm| Nyponros-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-gray__0287090_PE318870_S4| ikea |

the big question is whether to get the headboard in the fabric she likes, or get a chair in folkland for her desk instead, and have some pillows made with the fabric, and make or buy a different headboard. that way she isn't tied to the animal fabric when she's older.

we're obviously still mulling.

but now we have a good direction to go in, and i have a feeling this will be the summer of the bedroom ... marc and i just ordered a new bed (after nearly 19 years, we will finally have a king-size bed. no more getting jabbed by his elbows and feet in the middle of the night!), we'll be doing a big shuffle of guest room stuff once that bed comes, and we might as well put harp's room on the list, too. (i asked henry if he wants to do anything different with his room while we're at it. he answered, "why?" ... such a boy.)

as far as summer projects go, i can get behind these ideas one-hundred percent.