If I open the door for you, you better know that it’s the highest honor I could bestow upon you and your court.
Suffering from anxiety and facing the daily battles that brings, leaves you empty and powerless and in desperate need of a recharge. To recharge, the space must be freeing, under your control and safe. Your domain is so much more important than a Zen space. It’s where you regain control of yourself, your body and your mind. Home is that safe, sacred space for me. It’s where I know what to expect and where I know my escape routes if anxiety is trying to knock down my damn door. I recharge after spending hours painstakingly socializing with acquaintances out and about. It’s where I go and know that the biggest decisions facing me are whether to grab the can of Spaghetti-Os out of the pantry or thaw the ground turkey sitting in the freezer. It’s where I can sit on my butt on our chair and a half with my pup curled up next to me and just sit in complete silence. I control who I interact with when I’m home. I control if I’m hot or cold. I control 99% of myself when I’m safely tucked in my four walls.
Home is where my routines live. I religiously wake up mostly the same way every morning and brush my teeth. I religiously select something to wear for the day from the same closet and it’s where I almost religiously change my outfit at least once before entering the real world. There’s something to be said about having control over your surroundings when the smallest out of control situation can trigger a panic attack. Just a few days ago, we took a spur of the moment trip to the garden store. I love to live by spur of the moment adventures, but what I don’t do well is the spur of the moment decision making process. Fear sets in about wasting my time walking through the lush aisles of green when I can’t keep a plant alive for longer than a week- hence why we made our way to the garden store in the first place. Financial regrets loom over my mind about why these flowers are so damn expensive and if I’m really just going to kill it in a week, do I want to plant $50 worth of stems for them to turn brown and fuzz over with mold? It was a simple trip to a garden store, a five minute conversation with a wonderful and inviting employee, and what felt like a life changing decision for me that sent me over the edge. My face flushed as the anxiety took over the control I used to hold on my body. I couldn’t handle the pressure of picking one plant out of hundreds because I no longer had control. It took me hours to decompress at home to return back to my neutral state. Had we extended our adventure throughout the evening, I would have been on pins and needles in an awful mental state for much, much longer. I have found it to be a necessity to have a decompression spot that I can control.
My safe haven has the typical four walls, a roof, windows (lots of windows- I’ll get to that in a moment), and doors. MY chair in a half is beginning to show signs of my decompressing lean, where there’s a defined dip in the left arm where I like to curl up my elbow and put all of the weight of the world. It has a perfectly soft bed with matching pillow cases to the sheets- those pillow cases are where I wipe the dirt of the world when the tears have to be let out. My safe haven has a kitchen full of fruits and veggies mixed in with the sugary deliciousness of a walnut brownie on those days that I just need something chocolate to pep my step. It even has a basement, full of boutique inventory where I choose to spend time controlling my financial freedom. This safe haven is my home. I know the aroma of my wax melts and the creaks of the steps when I’m climbing them. I know I am safe there and protected.
I have never been one to have loads of friends walking through the revolving door of my home, matter of fact my door might as well be dead bolted four times. Growing up, my house was not my home. It was made of paper thin walls and egg shell floors. The ceiling was a black hole that just absorbed any and all joy before raining it back down upon us as anxiety. I didn’t invite friends into that house. Long ago, I convinced myself that there was far too much happiness and laughter in my friends’ homes so we should just spend our time there. I think that tepidness of opening the door to my home to people has lingered into my adulthood. I don’t like people marching into my parade and changing the direction. Making coffee in the cups that I only use for water to avoid that hint of flavor that was absorbed by the plastic. For me to extend an invite to my sanctuary, you are very important to me. I feel safe with you and trust that my home will be respected as your own. I have to have the house just right before you come over too, which means you are worthy of hours of obsessive cleaning from top to bottom- at least of the rooms that I’ll allow you into. It’s not how I’d prefer to handle house guests. Trust me, I envy people who can welcome me in with open arms and say never mind the mess. That is a true talent in my book. I worry about what people will think of my most prized possession. Will they think I cluttered the space up too much? Will they appreciate the naturalness of the gray color on the walls or find it utterly boring that all 48 walls of my home are the same shade? Will they question the worn out floral chair that’s shoved into the corner of the room that’s absolutely too big for the space, but I just have to keep it close because it was my Obachan’s? The list keeps going of things I worry about before and after your two feet step onto my welcome mat. Which by the way, I also worry that the welcome mat won’t get enough dirt off their shoes before they track it around my house. It’s exhausting.
Buying our first home has forced me into letting people into my sanctuary. It’s forced me to recreate my safe space in between four new walls. I found new characteristics to love, like the ample amount of light that pours in the windows on a sunny day. There are new places for me to decompress, like the front porch rocker on the right- that’s mine. The dent from my booty folds the chair canvas where I sit accompanied by the breezes that swing by to visit and the ridiculous amount of mosquitos that I’d rather not have swing by in the evenings. Before that door handle turns, I have meticulously detailed the house. I’ve gone so far to plan down to the minute that we would start cooking on the grill and who would sit where while we chatted about the home improvement projects in our future. But I’m learning to let loose a little more. Maybe next time I skip dusting the top of the refrigerator or folding all three blankets neatly into the blanket basket in front of the fireplace. At the end of the day, this dusty space is where I return to myself and fill my strength meter for the next battle. My home is my sacred space and I’m learning how to share it a little more and let a few more people in.