I’m afraid to have nice things.
I can’t bring myself to unpack the last few boxes in my apartment even though I moved in five months ago. The shelving unit I bought from Ikea last month is still in its packaging and my little girl’s dollhouse remains neatly disassembled in its individual boxes.
If you came over you would think I had either just moved in or was on my way out. I have to force myself to even do general maintenance at times, because the prospect of exposing a comfortable atmosphere causes me to have heart palpitations.
It is an absolutely paralyzing fear; so palpable that I will literally buy a new hair dryer rather then risk unpacking something to find my old one. It makes absolutely no sense, giving outside observers the impression I am both lazy and frivolous.
This is anything but the truth.
I’m afraid to put down roots, afraid to care about anything anymore because I don’t want to have something someone would take. I am smart enough to know that this is a self-defeating endeavor and trauma re-enactment at it’s finest. Unfortunately intellectual knowledge of something is not the same as the reality of it and being told otherwise is as effective as using a toothpick for a shovel; futile.
I can apologize for my woefully disappointing ways to those around me and continue my valiant efforts at projecting normalcy but inevitably the characteristics that are so “uniquely” me wiggle through, and I grow weary of trying to articulate why. Words tend to lose their meaning after so many rounds of use anyway. I am still no closer to providing satisfactory explanations as to why I am the way I am, or think the way that I think, even love the way that I love. There comes a point where the explanation dissolves in the reason and I find myself struggling to sift through the wreckage to uncover the origin of it all.
My children’s room is beautiful, however. I had painstakingly selected a blue that rivals the sky for the walls and affixed their names in block lettering to it. The matching wardrobes in light toned oak stand tall on the side that is lined with carefully selected children’s books that are worn from generations of use. My son’s earth-toned pack n play is tucked into an alcove in the corner by the window, at night the moon dapples his blankets with silvery light. Every spare surface brims with photographs of my babies in various stages of laughter and cradled by me as newborns. It is a room that is perfectly set up for their individual needs and primed to bear witness to childish laughter and innocent slumber.
I stand in the doorway looking at this extraordinary place that I put my heart into making and note the stillness of it, as though the room were holding it’s breath waiting for them.
It is waiting for little ones that never come
This aching space of bitter disappointment and broken dreams now symbolizes to me how cruel and heartless the world can be at times. How an unimaginable pain somehow can become real and force you to live with the self recriminating guilt that all of this came to pass because of who you are. Who I am….what I have, cost me the very things I live and breathe for.
What a conundrum that is. I can only push forward through the hollow pain and keep fighting to regain what was so wrongfully and cruelly taken.
Meanwhile their cheerfully decorated room gathers dust as time passes.
I don’t clean it.
I turn off the light and close the door.