As a (wildly imperfect and shameless) therapist, I say: Nest with whatever the universe sends your way. And love it for what it is.
These past few months have been emotional whiplash.
I’ve been on the emollercoaster long enough that upside down is feeling right side up. Maybe that’s the lesson.
Stop tossing your cookies long enough and you can suddenly appreciate the upside – which is perhaps simply the perspective of looking up from the downside.
Here’s the thing: Sometimes there’s no psychological crisis kit handy – your therapist is in Tahiti, your mom is on a plane somewhere over Oklahoma, and it’s just too damn early to turn to that box of Franzia and a steaming hot bath. Hell, you just showered.
In the event of emotional emergencies, you have a permission slip to shore up the defenses and rally to your own cause by any means necessary.
Obvious disclaimer: Let’s go ahead and not self-sabotage and then call it mental health first aid, mkay? Destructive impulses can be just that: impulses. No action necessary.
With that out of the way…
We all have a battle. Everyone is dealing with some kind of messiness.
I have an exceedingly difficult and whiny ex. He flares up from time to time like a bad case of hemorrhoids. I’m pretty immune at this point, until my kids become collateral damage. Then the mama bear in me has to meditate, a LOT. It’s not the worst thing in the world.
However, the latest events have been a reminder of how low a person can go, and only those lost in the hell of their own making think they can win at this game of limbo.
In other (likely related) news, I’ve bought a house!
It would be more accurate to say: We bought a house! Because this new home adventure was made possible by my wholehearted allies, several of whom may as well be investors.
Have you ever experienced that shift from rational excited to every-fiber-of-your-being ecstatic?
I was very, very particular about what I wanted, per usual. And I was very, very anxious about making a commitment of this magnitude.
In a goldilocks moment, I walked into the house that was just right.
I was hopped up like one of my kids’ on an Easter basket sugar high until I was under contract (all of 36 hours), and then all of the distractions kicked in. The work of packing. The work of work. The joys of single parenting.
Until today…when I walked back into that home I fell in love with, except this time it was empty of someone else’s stuff. The only squatter was a protective momma mallard sitting on a full DOZEN eggs in a bush off the side patio.
A fellow mother holding down the fort and taking care of her babies, in a simple nest of mulch, pine needles, and feathers.
We all need a special space of our own – a nest – to come home to.
Life is hazardous. It’s exhausting to hang on through the loopty loops. In the midst of evil, chaos, and everyday malarkey, it’s critical to have a home base with a strong door, and maybe a moat (hmm…).
My nest is gonna look a whole lot different than your nest.
Maybe, like me, you need physical walls all your own – a place where you can paint the entire master bedroom lime green with polka dots, should you feel the need.
Maybe right now your nest is a turquoise-studded bangle, a family heirloom passed down through your own strong-af mother, along with your carry-on-sized nomad pack.
Nesting is the act of honoring your unique manifestation of home.
The daily rituals of care taking – the appreciation, cleaning, and minor repairs – are nest maintenance. The act of nesting is next-level and highly intentional.
This is NOT a shopping spree at Hobby Lobby for a house full of coordinated Made in China decor. Meaningless knick-knackery makes me nuts. It’s a show to impress presumed visitors. Nesting is 100% for you.
It’s discovering a worn out Pottery Barn love seat that seeds the inspiration for a renewal – and an entire room dedicated to sanctuary (true story of a creative loved one).
It’s relocating hundreds of miles when we find that our soul is calling for the ocean, sunshine, or a fresh reset (true stories of two fresh starting friends).
It’s the therapeutic deep cleaning of the grime from the windowsills, hanging semi-sheer curtains that diffuse the morning sunlight across your bed, and finding just the right oversized reading chair for the corner by the bookshelf (my coming weekend!).
It’s strategically surrounding yourself with what you love most. The people you love. The memories. The activities that you light you up. The intentional nooks and spaces that invite you to what’s most important (to you).
I was genuinely excited for my house, but that moment of walking into my home for the first time today was one of those time warp frozen-in-awe moments you never forget.
This was the high point of the loop, which means…
I was dropping off a Jeep-sized load of stuff labeled “Doesn’t Spark Joy” to a second hand store when I got a call notifying me of more fallout for my kids resulting from the ex’s temper tantrums.
I sat down in a worn corduroy La-Z-Boy and rocked for a minute.
The world went on around me while I paused. The spitfire Spanish-speaking women comparing bakeware with disproportionate dedication. The teen couple amazed that they could be the proud owners of a blue-ish couch older than them for only $30. The young man in a red apron teaching a much older Latino man in a matching apron what polka dot means and how to fill out a sold tag (I had just claimed two chairs of the aforementioned pattern).
It was 4:23 pm. I had 37 minutes of business hours to react today. Or…I could not. I could instead continue with this spontaneous nesting, which was feeling pretty damn good.
I happily pushed my cart that was already piled with random art through the aisles until a flowy peach midi-dress caught my eye (I live in simple summer dresses).
I decided with intention that I was full in on this resiliency field trip.
I was second hand shopping and the average price for a dress was $5. No self-sabotage here (except the fact that I am downsizing from a ginormous walk-in to a baby closet…maybe this will be the seed inspiration for a room just for my frocks!).
I picked out and tried on 44 dresses. That’s right: forty-four.
And I batted a 52.3% home run rate (if you’re a woman, you know this is unbelievable). I am firmly rooted in must-spark-joy intentional ownership after packing so many boxes. I only purchased the dresses that made me cheesy grin or spin around in circles.
23 new-to-me dresses. Sleeveless summer dresses. Sexy little black cocktail dresses. Even a bright floral-patterned dry clean only dress for a forthcoming special occasion!
And let’s be a little too honest: I was in packing-my-house stretchy clothes and not wearing a bra, so this whole unexpected fitting room fun was quite freeing.
As I checked out and cheerily paid a whopping $123 for my 23 dresses, I figured two things:
1. Nesting materials come in all forms, including re-loved attire.
2. This was less than the cost of therapy, and I’ve never left a therapy session with a giant bag of cute clothes.
I have literally hundreds of days ahead where I get to wear one of my special nesting dresses. Armor for heading out of the nest, back out to ride the roller coaster where, most days now, I can put my arms up and love the free fall for what it is: a deeper appreciation of the increasingly beautiful upside.
When I get worn out, I will come home to soak up abundance and root into how fortunate I truly am in comfy, bra-optional nest-wear.