Home is my body but it doesn’t always feel that way.
I am a soul experiencing myself in this little flesh prison, where I have thoughts, but my thoughts are not my home, they are just the curtains that decorate the windows.
I live in this home with these curtains and I recognize that they are not me, just the vessel in which I live, to experience life and myself. What I am trying to say, is that I am not my body, not my thoughts, I just live here, for now, temporarily, until it is time to move out and into the ground, or into my next house with new curtains, if that is what happens when we die.
I am trying to redecorate this home, refinish it, or maybe wear it in. I’ve been living here for 23 and a half years, but I am not yet comfortable within it. There was a period where I thought about moving out early, entirely. I made it to the front door, the yard. But then I decided that my home wasn’t that bad after all, and I replaced the curtains, even the sofas, and all the dishes, a few times over, settling in, no longer hating the sounds of the house settling at night. The bones creaking.
But though I like it better now, I am not yet satisfied. It is no longer the shape and size of the house that bothers me -- I used to think it was too big to live in alone -- but rather, the curtains don’t match. I can’t get them to cooperate with the color scheme, with the other decor.
I spend hours in front of the mirror, examining to see if anything looks different; hours in bed, trying to ease myself down from a panic attack.
My thoughts and my body are not cooperating, and they make it difficult to breathe, which makes it difficult to live in this house with these curtains peacefully.
Sometimes I knock on the neighbors’ doors, for advice -- a cup of sugar -- but I’ve spilled it everywhere by the time I arrive back to my kitchen, prepared to use it. The neighborhood is relatively peaceful, but that is because I have never been inside anyone else’s house, where their curtains maybe don’t match their house or vice versa.
Growing up, my favorite book was Jane Eyre. I likened myself to her, all determination, a moody outcast. I hated the witch in the attic, the ex wife, the way she came between the true love of Mr. Rochester and Jane.
But I have grown up now, in this house, and filled the shelves with feminist literature, and while my anger has pivoted to Mr. Rochester, my alignment has also shifted to the wife. Locked in the attic, destined to haunt the house she thought she would make a home out of.
But while she has co-inhabitants, I only have the shadows that fall through when the curtains shudder in the wind. I should really close the window, tell these shadow people that they are uninvited guests, but they haunt the house with me now, anxiety painted across the wall like redrum.
The Shining. Maybe it’s the lighting? And not the curtains themselves after all. Maybe, I should bring in more lamps -- try to shine more light on the shadows, so they are no longer there, or at least they look like they go away.
I fill myself with information, knowledge, attempting to quell my anxiety. The curtains only flutter more, casting more shadows across the ground.
Like the light, our minds play tricks on us. And sometimes, I forget that just as I am not my thoughts or my body, I am not this house at all.