Monday, June 4, 2012

Spaces we Ignore, But we Never Forget

When I was a little girl, I had my very own key to my very own house. 

It was a brown house, it was made of wood, it was square, it had a cool roof and I built it with my Dad.  I guess it became what us adults might call a "playhouse". But, when I was a little girl, I had my very own key to my very own house, you see.

It had fold down bunk beds
A fold down work table
2x4 shelves everywhere 

Operable, push-out windows
A spy window in the front door
Styrofoam insulation 

Quilted curtains 
And my very favorite…

a secret trap door

This place was MY place. It had a lock on the door, and I had the key.

If I wanted to paint it, I would paint it. If my friends and me wanted to write on the walls, we would. If I wanted to sleep in there all by myself, I would. I would take my walkie talkie and my cat, and we would sleep down there. It was just my size. And it was mine.

My Dad taught me innumerable skills when we were building that house of mine. I remember my frustration with him when he told me we couldn't put a roof on it until I used the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the length of the rafters. I remember how I would cry and beg him to just do it for me. But I also remember how trigonometry was sort of a breeze in High School, I also remember how it feels to get head-high deep in a subject and know the ins and outs of something. I now know that if I ever want to do anything in this world, I can. If ten year old me can draw scaled blue prints, calculate the length of her own house's rafters, hammer all of the nails, and put on every shingle, I can absolutely handle anything else that comes my way. Absolutely.

I think it was there that I learned about independence. I remember how scared I was, as I took the short trek from my parents' down to mine. It's maybe a 20 yard distance, but you know, there were mountain lions, snakes, scorpions, raccoons, dragons, skunks, javelina and scary lizards out there just waiting for little old me…right? It was on those walks that I learned to navigate the line between my vivid imagination and what was real. It was on those short walks that I learned that if I was too scared, I could always go home, but the best thing to do was to do it on my own.

Today, when I wandered down there to that house of mine again for the first time in years, I found little reminders of these lessons scattered everywhere. The lanterns still had batteries in them, the books were still next to the bed, the lipsmakers still in the medicine cabinet. Shoot, there was even still trash left in the trash can. So I sat in that little time machine of mine, I walked around and bumped my head on the ceiling, and I took pictures of those little spots that were so big to me then. The spots in that tiny space that taught me lessons. The places that I may have ignored in the passed 10 or so years, but I have never forgotten. The glow-in-the dark paint still in the tube, the magnets still neatly placed inside the medicine cabinet, the little birdhouse that I was making, the book that I read in there when I was in college and was scared to grow up…the bracelet my friend made from a toothbrush. All of those things make all of me.

And I gotta say, when that time comes in my life and I'm ready to have kids of my own, we're going to build them their own 'houses'. I want to teach them what my Dad taught me, when we built mine together. I want them to know that anything is possible, that they have the power within them to do anything they want. That I'm here to help, I'm here to guide…but their best friend is themselves, and their own beautiful minds can take them anywhere.

Oh, and that toothbrush bracelet I mentioned way up there? I'm rocking it right now as I sit in my queen-size 'adult' bed, in my 'adult' apartment, and I don't think I'm going to take it off. When I look at it now, as I go about my 'complicated' and 'hectic' 'adult' life, it will remind me that I really haven't come that far…that I'm still doing the same stuff that my Dad helped me learn when I was a little girl…when I had my very own key to my very own house.

This is the bracelet...reminding me to not take life so the middle of my grownup jewelry. That's what adornment is all about to me, but that's for another post ;)

I think this post about lessons I learned from my Dad shall join this post about lessons I learned from my Mom <3
I hope you are all having a great day.