As a kid, I was self-disciplined, a conscientious do-er.
I did my homework, kept my tiny bedroom neat, exercised, and tried to eat healthy in a home where putting sugar on Cheerios and ketchup on scrambled eggs was the norm. I could do math, numbers crunch, and multi-task.
But….there was this whole other, dreamy, side of me.
I was a girl who lived (lives) in my own head most of the time; it’s my favorite place to be. I imagine and fantasize about beautiful places in nature and languid, lazy, contemplative days. I escape the real world when it is ugly, angry and chaotic. I turn away from these things in an effort to not just survive, but thrive. I don’t apologize for turning inward because it allows me to give more to others and be a better – calmer, more optimistic – person to be around.
As a girl, I would dream of being a reclusive author, maybe a little quirky, and always solitary – doing my own thing, when I wanted to and spending time alone. I dreamed of being a woman of independent means who would have the luxury to live this life. I would always live in beautiful spaces – Downton Abbey type mansions or hobbit-like cottages in the English or French countryside.
There is so much yin-yang to me. The mansions I lived in would be pristine, architecturally interesting but balanced and uniform with manicured gardens and walk-ways. But my cottages, in the countryside or possibly in author Rosamund Pilcher’s seaside villages, would be messy, overgrown with foliage, vines, flowers. Garden paths there might be uneven with missing stones lost over years of use.
When I go “away to a camp in Maine,” I never want green grass or manicured anything. I want to see the overgrowth, and hide behind it. I want the grounds the way nature intends them to be – pine-needled and growing wild.
Beauty inside my house is sparse, ordered, uncluttered.
But the way I like beauty outside the house, in the yard, is natural, messy, overgrown. I like paint-chipped permanent chairs or benches where I can curl up and read in the shade under an ages-old tree. I don’t want to carry chairs outside each time I wish to sit down. Outside, I like things to be easy…and permanent. The colors in nature, especially green, bring me to life.
I am such a creature of my environment and if I am not truly present in such an aesthetically beautiful spot, I pull inward and imagine it in my mind.