new year’s gift-- an empty desk just for me—in a clean, well lit, warm art space. And with it, a chance to get back to back to being genuine. I’m a goal-setter so new year’s resolutions come naturally to me. I started thinking about resolutions at the Winter Solstice and realized I had left some of the most important parts of me behind. My resolution this year is to be true to myself.
How did I stray so far off course? It just so happens I’m also an adapter. I have a mutable personality and that’s why, when my new husband and his sons moved into my house three years ago, I decided to make a big
change. So grateful that they were joining me in house I loved, I was eager to show my willingness to adapt. Bear in mind my home was already overflowing. My space was brimming. It was stuffed with stuff. I was hanging on tight to my childhood memories, my half of the detritus from a 20-year-marriage, and assorted boxes full of my children’s memories. Did I mention that I’m a collector?
Optimistically we shoehorned our new family into this space the best we could. I spent weeks prior to our wedding day weeding through my art supplies. The plan was to turn half of my basement art area into a bedroom. It seemed logical to sacrifice some paper and paints to make three guys feel welcome. I attacked my mission with zeal. Meanwhile, my husband had the loathsome task of cramming all of his belongings into the remaining cracks and crevices.
Enter the desk. While I was occupied with giving up my cache of art supplies a crippling scenario was taking place in the sunroom. After three moves and zero time or energy to organize papers, my husband had no choice but stack every important and seemingly important paper on a desk in the sunroom. He had too much to handle. Filing was risky. Sorting was agonizing. The fear of losing essential papers was paralyzing. What's worse is the torture was apparent. While the basement door could be shut, the desk in the sunroom was always in plain sight, groaning with the weight. We were trapped. I gave up part of my identity and his was lost somewhere in piles of papers.
The first year was really tough for all kinds of reasons. After a year my stepsons moved on but me and my husband remained in "desk limbo." What used to be a basement art haven became invisible. My dusty drafting table was stacked with forgotten materials. And the piles grew in the sunroom. Turning opposite of true north, I gave my drafting table to my younger stepson. Oddly enough, that might have been just the wake up call I needed. Soon after, I dug out my art journal and went back to play.
This past summer I asked to have the sunroom desk in exchange for a space in the basement. Thus began a series of lessons that probably will be discussed in more detail on other days in other articles. I had to confront my communications demons; it was not a pretty picture. One day I figured out how to use my words and a lightbulb switched on above both our heads. Suffice it to say it’s been a 3-year-long learning experience that was an effective teaching tool on so many levels.
The happy news is the gift. We came to a mutual agreement that has left us both happy, true to ourselves and most important, with usable space each of us to fill however we choose. To my utter surprise and delight I looked into the sunroom yesterday and saw a completely empty desk. And now, at the start of a new year I have a gleaming new art table just waiting for me to play. I wonder if he knows his gift wasn't just a clean desk for me; it was a clean slate for us. Thanks to you, my darling!