31 July 2014

defining home












I've always had a divided definition of home. It's often referred to as the constant -- as the unchanging respite, that we, the changelings inhabit. I felt attached to that notion when, in college, I moved from apartment to apartment -- twelve months at a time in places I knew were transient. It's counterintuitive. What I mean was the homes didn't have time to grow into themselves --or to grow about me, like an ivy vine, growing about the shape of my life, integrating itself into the little cracks and crevices. Home was a place to rest with a book, arrange a wardrobe, cook a meal. But just that. A place. These homes were like minor characters who step softly into a story, then leave. They maybe have one good line, or impact the plot just so, but then you move on.

Now that I've spent several years of adulthood in the same space, I'm starting to know what it is for a home to evolve. Its doors grow worn. It gathers things. Needs to be rearranged. Needs to purge itself.

I can look back now, on the houses where I grew up and understand my mother, suddenly having to paint the kitchen or change the linens -- in these small acts of reimagining a space she was tending to it. And I imagine, to herself, too. What was going on in her life when she needed to change things? But then there were the things she always stood by, refusing to alter.

So, to me, defining home was always that tension. Between the shifting, and the components that never changed. My mother's room was always blue. This is the room where, when I was eight, she told me she had cancer. This is the room where I would sneak in to listen to the giant sea conches she kept on her dresser. I watched a flash flood from the windows. And just as soon as I recall the always-blue-room, I recall the front hall -- shifting from white to red to navy. Or the aging pink bathroom tiles replaced with crisp white ones.

The truth is, we sometimes want our homes to be everything. To be cool and warm. To inspire us, to calm us. We want our dishes just so. We want it clean. We want it filled with just the right things in just the right order. We want the light to fall a certain way. But the other truth is, our homes will always be cluttered just when we wish they wouldn't be -- because that's when we're cluttered too. More and more -- the longer we stay, and the deeper we know them -- they mirror us. Oh, and the older we get we start to mirror our mothers, too -- maybe only in small ways, but it's there. Like how I know my bookshelf will always be growing, growing, growing -- but I'll never give up on the dream of a clean, white bed.

12 comments:

  1. Bridget, I absolutely love your blog. Every time I see a new post, it makes my heart so happy. You have a way of writing that is soothing to the soul, and every time I read your words, I leave inspired to go write some of my own. Your blog is an oasis of peace in a place that can be so turbulent. This space fills me up the way a bowl of warm soup does on a chilly, drizzly day. Thank you.

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  2. I have to concur with Mallory above... My feelings are the same but Mallory expressed it in a way better than I could have!

    These pictures are also absolutely beautiful. I would love a home with those foundations to dress and undress myself some day.

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  3. Your photos and content always give the perfect sense of congruence. Your blog is just lovely. It's the perfect place for me to come to each day.

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  4. Your house is gorgeous, and I love your honest writing. I am still very young, but have lived in the same house for as long as I can remember. I already have so many memories connected to this house, and I can only imagine how my future home will compare to my current childhood home.

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  5. I love this post. You have a way with your words.
    xo

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  6. these photos are so dreamy, such an amazing space!
    -k
    www.kerryjune.com

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  7. your home is stunning. I love it.

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  8. This is wonderful. I often think about the different meanings of home. Having lived in one home (that I can remember, we were three the first time we moved) my whole life, then going to college and bouncing around each year, to now finally be in my own tiny little apartment for the longest period of any place but home. I always feel a sort of longing to move and grow and change, but then I realize that this little place is the little place I need right now. And yes, my mom was always changing things. My dad always joked about how often she'd repaint. I think there's freedom in that too.

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  9. your home is an absolute dream. and your words are so lovely that i don't even know what to do sometimes. I agree with Mallory -- your blog is so soothing. your stunning photos and touching words have an effect I can only dream of someday having myself.
    thank you for sharing your talents with the world.
    x staygoldrebecca.com

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  10. Such beautiful words and images...
    Ronnie xo

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  11. I wish I could write like you. Wow. That is all the words I have. You describe everything so perfectly. Bridget.

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  12. many of your photographs look like dreams. like really, the sketchiness, the shadows, wonderful. & you have a lot of the same furniture as me, which means nothing but just makes me point at the computer screen and go "oh! there's my...!"

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