Make yourself at home

I lived in every bedroom in the house I grew up in -- except the master bedroom of course. I tried to convince my dad to let me also try the basement or the den off the living room that we reserved for all of our musical instruments to stand sentry until we were ready for them again (I would have moved my bed under the piano, if he'd let me). For the longest time, I believed I kept relocating my things because I was fidgety and loved the purge of organizing everything in a new spot. I'd dump all my drawers, move them over one at a time and be forced to reconcile their contents: did these things make me happy? Did I need them or could I donate or trash them? It was my do-over.

Maybe it's because I grew up reading lots of books and watching sitcoms, but I always thought that a person's room says a lot about them. The way they decorate it, whether it is clean or dirty, what it smells like... Anytime I made a new friend and went over to their house and saw their room for the first time, I felt like I was learning something new about them. A bedroom, in my mind, was very much a tell of someone's character, for better or worse.

So what did that mean about me, then, that I couldn't settle down? That I had this urge every few months to get out and start over? To try again?

I think for a good part of my childhood -- the part that I was a bit more in control of deciding how I presented myself to the world, where I was slightly more in charge of the message and the delivery of said message -- I tried to show myself through my room. I kept attempting to make the spaces I slept in feel like home, feel like me.

I'd paint the walls, hang posters and tuck pictures into mirrors. I'd find string lights and lanterns and eclectic lamps. Curtains, blankets, stacks of books, new candles. I tried so hard to make it feel right, but I couldn't settle, and then I'd pack it all up and try again somewhere new.

It's strange to realize that my childhood home didn't feel like home to me, no matter how many versions of it I attempted. The first time I lived somewhere that that feeling really "clicked" was when I first moved to Annapolis and had my own place. It was all mine, it was safe and happy, and even though I was now stressed with "adult problems" like paying rent, I loved it. It was home.

It's fun now, living where I do now with Peter and Violet, seeing how we can make this small cottage in the woods our home. I love getting to watch it all come together. Bookshelves keep popping up, I now have a workspace in the office, and our bedroom is super cozy and has the greatest surround of windows. We've lived there for about four or five months now, and I count myself lucky everyday to wake up surrounded by trees, birds, and the ones I love most. It is nice, for the first time in my life, to be able to make myself at home with my own small family.

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