Yesterday, we went to a friend's house for pulled pork and July 4th festivities. Her house. Her house without her soon-to-be ex husband. Her house with college-aged kids, both of whom were in the house with her. And we--her guests--were there, mostly her family but a couple of friends, all of us happy to see her in this new house. Her house. The house isn't perfect; it isn't bigger or better or fancier than the house she left, but it's her name on the lease.
I can relate to her feeling about her house, but I'm not sure they match exactly. I was never leaving somewhere fraught with potential abuse and anger. I was leaving somewhere that had grown very sad, but I loved my house and I loved the idea of family that I was breaking up. When I moved into the small, cramped duplex in Lafayette, I thought that I might have an attack of victim-hood or, worse, self-pity. The house and all its strange electrical wiring, poor plumbing, and wall-crawling ants seemed to be a metaphor for my life.
When I finally moved to the rental in Berkeley, I maybe started to feel as my friend did. That house felt more like a place I could settle, even though it clearly wasn't "it." But I was becoming my own person. In that house, I rearranged all my accounts to be my own. I started to really leave my marriage, even though I had left well over a year before. I picked up the flung reins of my divorce proceedings and got back on that ugly nag and rode her all the way to a settlement.
Yesterday, as i stood in the light and bright living room, watching my friend, seeing her the happiest I'd ever seen her, ever, bar none, I was glad to be a part of her new house-ness. I wouldn't want to go back to that part as it is often frightening and lonely and flat out weird, but it's a place we have to be in if we want to get to the next part and then the next.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org