Disorganized Attachment with Domesticity

A photo of Katie's living room: soft yellow walls, lots of built-in wood, bamboo floors, a couch with many colorful blankets and throw pillows, a yellow patterned armchairs, some houseplants, a central big-screen tv, and stacks of books.

Sometimes, a frantic feeling.

Gutters need cleaning; I have no ladder. Is the Monterey Pine dying from a moth infestation? (Plus the ongoing effects of drought?) Does the kitchen need mopping? Does the Monstera need to be staked and tied? How can I keep things clean, orderly and beautiful?

And for whose sake?

Sometimes, a desire to flee.

Maybe I should sell in a year. Individual homeownership in the U.S. is a trap, right? Built on myths of heroic individualism. With actual housekeeping and landscaping labor often outsourced to working-class brown people.

We are not meant to do this alone.

Sometimes, coziness, contentment, gratitude.

This house breathed beautifully from the moment I met her. The walls gently colorful — soft yellow, sage green, grey-blue — not white and sterile like so many places. Arches, rounded corners, warm wood everywhere.

A year in, I’ve added houseplants, candles, artwork. (Slowly overcoming my irrational fears of framing and hanging.) I’ve splurged on pieces — a retro refrigerator; gold art deco bar stools — that I love, and who seem to love being here.

My neighbors always have a friendly word. They trellis their own blackberries; grow citrus, tomatoes, squash; mow their own grass, experiment with rainwater catchment barrels, or old random jugs when those barrel systems leak and the replacement parts can’t be sourced anywhere —  not the local plumbers, sprinkler guys, or pool guys. I admire the soft tenacity of these neighbors.

The place isn’t perfect, but it is good. And I am grateful.

Been around the whole
World still ain’t seen
Nothing like my neighborhood

And of all of the fancy
Satin and silk
My white cotton feels so good

Searched high and low
For a place where I
Can lay my burdens down

Ain’t nothing in the
Whole wide world
Like the peace that I have found

india.arie, “Little Things”

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