Well, my dumplings, we’re coming up on the end of the calendar year, and I’m both impatient and terrified for it. This year has been, well… *gestures wildly at the air* I will not be sad to see the end of this year, regardless. The less said about it, the better.
The demise of the year, however, does mean that it is time to start considering what I want to work on in the coming year. Those who’ve been around for a while know that I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but instead choose a word or three to sketch out a sort of road map to steer by for the year. This year’s words were, well, honestly I don’t remember. Everything got nuked from orbit at the beginning and I never really managed to get my feet under me. At best I’ve managed a shaky holding pattern. Throwing out an entire life direction and business plan is one hell of a monkey wrench and trying to course correct when half the road is just…gone…is an exercise in madness and chaos mathematics. As y’all have seen, I’m not particularly great at math and there’s only so many times you can restructure your life from the ground up before you start running out of ideas.
Which brings me to this coming year and what I’m going to choose for a word.
Real talk, for a hot minute I seriously considered saying “Fuck it!” and not bothering, but decided that wasn’t an option and started thinking about it…
…For many years, I’ve dreamed in a house. It’s always the same house, more or less, which is what makes it stand out. It’s part old school New England Colonial, part rambling Victorian, part Gothic manor on the moors, with the most amazing attics and furniture (there’s a *gorgeous* hutch of golden tiger maple and blood-red cherry in one of the attics and if I ever find it in real life, I will sell several people’s souls to acquire it). Until this year, when I randomly walked into one of the most insipid McMansion-style houses ever, and keep finding myself back there instead.
It’s awful. You go in the front door and it’s like being in an aggressively generic Anywhere type of suburban house with a serviceable kitchen, nondescript living room, and weathered but functional 3-season porch running along one side, but then you try to leave and instead you go into another part of the house and you realize it shares a defining characteristic with the Other House, in that it keeps going indefinitely and you can’t find the door that will let you out. Only this side is like walking into one of those annoying magazine photos that uses words like “contemporary” and “minimalism” and “classic neutrals”, where the only color is a single, palest pastel blue throw pillow and everything else is in “tasteful shades of eggshell and taupe” and you want to scream from the sheer, soul-killing monotony of it all.
This one is the Split House, and it’s just this side of being a nightmarescape. Nothing good happens in the Split House; it’s all misfortune and atrophy and elegantly decorated rot. To make matters worse, there’s a Homeowner somewhere in it, and I spend a lot of time trying to find the fucking door to get out while also having to avoid letting the Homeowner know I’m there, and it is exhausting.
I hate the Split House. I hate it, and normally I’d want to burn it to the ground and toast marshmallows in it’s flames, but I’m not entirely sure it wouldn’t give me serious digestive troubles if I tried to eat them.
What do my weird-ass dream houses have to do with this year’s words?
I want to go home, back to the Other House, with its ivy-shattered courtyard fountain and carnival glass dishware full of apples and bramble-fruits, where I can open a door and find a library or a forgotten closet of boxes to be explored, where I belong. I want to find and reclaim the things that I’ve lost that are mine and that are important to me. I want to reclaim myself again.
So that is what I’m going to be working on this coming year, after too long spent mostly tumbling from crisis to crisis, running from room to room, trying to catch my breath, unable to pause long enough to try and find another way than the door I can’t find. I’m reclaiming my time, and my brain, and my house, because I’m pretty sure that the Split House is being superimposed over the Other House and the Homeowner is just some asshole trying to gaslight me into thinking that there is no Other House and that I’m trespassing in my own damned dreams.
That is my word: Reclaim.
I’m starting now, because I’ve waited long enough as it is, and time has no meaning anymore, anyway.
What are your plans for the coming year?
(Originally posted on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/riversdaughter.)