The other night, I was laying in my bed in my freshly painted bedroom with my two pups. My table lamp was on casting a clean, white light onto the “new” walls and I had a great book to read before shutting my eyes for the night.
I took a moment to look around my room; the grey-purple walls, the new art work I created for the beautiful gold picture frames that once held my wedding photos, the new gold mirror, the new white faux-fur rug, and the long white airy curtains. It finally felt like me. Only me. My sanctuary.
I couldn’t help but smile. I felt so happy. I felt like myself.
I couldn’t help but think of the light blue walls that were here before. The bedding was different, the sheets were different. Back then, it felt like us.
As soon as I made the decision to end my marriage to AJ, we also decided he would stay in the house for three weeks to save money. As much as I would have loved to fling his clothes and belongings from the second story window, I was still so in love with him… I felt like I still needed to care for him. Make sure when he left, he’d be okay.
While his well-being was my first thought, I had to wonder how I would feel sharing a home with this man that crushed my heart. Sharing our home we created. The past three days felt like a lifetime… how could I make it three weeks? How could I find a sanctuary in my own home?
On “Day Three” when I returned to my home, I brought my bag up to our bedroom… my bedroom. I set my bag in the corner and looked around. It looked like my life with him, once so happy and bright and now it felt… different.
I got to work immediately.
I stripped the bed of the sheets and comforter. I tried to figure out how to rearrange everything. I took the TV off the wall. I pushed the dresser around to each wall to try and anchor my new design. Then, I pushed my bed to the corner and angled it. Kitty-corner. The angle of the bed created a huge gap between the back of the bed and the walls. I didn’t have a headboard so the pillows just fell off the bed in the middle of the night, into the gap. I didn’t care. It was different. It was “new”. It became my sanctuary.
Sanctuary – a place of refuge or safety.
For the next three weeks, I’d get home from work, take care of my pups, make some dinner that I knew AJ wouldn’t want to eat, and climb the stairs to my happy place. A place I could breathe. A place where I could lock the door and feel… safe. Protected by the lock of an old gold door knob.
Protected from seeing him.
When I looked at him in those few weeks he was still living in my house, I saw my husband, a man I loved so deeply and truly. A man I couldn’t merge with this “new guy” that hurt me. In my mind, they were two different people. Jekyll and Hyde.
So, to my sanctuary I retreated. Waiting. Waiting for those three weeks to come to an end. Looking at those blue walls. Clinging to the hope that his words might become action. Maybe he will want to save us. Maybe he will come to his senses and fight for me. Maybe this new guy isn’t him… but it was.
When he left, I was finally able to reconcile the two people into one. He was a guy who stole marriage from me and smashed my heart. I was no longer conflicted about who was who. I moved around my bedroom again. The dresser on a new wall. Bed against another wall. The wall with windows. New sheets, new pillows, new rug.
Same walls. The light blue walls reminded me of his eyes. They reminded me of the shirt he wore the first day I saw him…
Suddenly, I felt ready. Paint would change everything. I picked up new paint and rushed home to put it on the walls.
I painted half and gave up. Not quite ready to see that blue disappear.
It’s not a big room. I could have painted it. I could have finished it. Instead, I let it stay half painted for two weeks. Every night, I looked at the contrast of the new, grey-purple walls with the old, light blue walls. Was this my way of still holding onto my “old future”?
Did I even like the new color? Was I really ready to stop looking at that blue?
It wasn’t until the day after I got my wisdom teeth pulled that I found the strength to cover up the rest of that blue. Maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was that I had laid in that bed for 24 hours just looking at that blue. The light blue. That day, I knew I didn’t want to see it anymore. I needed to finish my sanctuary.
I finished painting in 20 minutes.
I threw back a few more meds and fell fast asleep.
When I woke up, I felt refreshed. I knew I loved the new color. Sure, I loved the old color, but this new color is me. Just me. In my new, perfect sanctuary.