One of the biggest mental adjustments has been realizing I can do stuff for myself, and not for the 2 of us. I don’t have to consider what he would like anymore. I am figuring out that much of the time I bent my opinions and tastes to fit his, for the sake of…something…harmony or maybe simply streamlining decision making. Don’t misunderstand, he was not autocratic or anything, and was quite willing (in most things) to let me have my way.
Sometimes, though, for the sake of harmony or maybe simply streamlining, it was easier to say “ok, sure…let’s watch (yet another) James Bond movie (again)” I would chirp something about “popcorn or (something not popcorn)” knowing full well he’d want the popcorn, and to keep from having to make 2 bowls of stuff, I’d have popcorn too.
That sounds so complainy, but the point is, I am find of finding my voice here and it’s interesting and frankly, rawther liberating.
A case in point: We have (had, now! WHEE!) this big brown rocking chair. VERY BROWN. And big. He liked it because his big frame fit in it. And it was BROWN. I was happy that he had a comfortable chair, but hated BROWN. So brown, in this brown living room with the brown leather furniture and light brown walls and brown oak stuff and so BROWN in there. I would try to spice it up with bright quilts on the backs of the couch and pretty throw pillows that the dogs would take over for sleeping on and….bleh. So brown.
The other day it occurred to me that keeping altars for dead husbands isn’t really something that needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong…but I have photo albums and a beautiful sewing room full of furniture he built and a lovely jewelry box he made way back in 1987. I didn’t have to keep that BROWN chair BROWN. So I went to Lowe’s and got 2 cans of primer and 2 cans of glossy enamel paint in a lovely shade of BRIGHT RED. Not really a scarlet orangey red, but more like the color of a ruby with the sun hitting it. Textile dye people in The Industry would know it as Halliburton Red, the color used by the Halliburton Corp on all their hurricane generation equipment and uniforms. It is an amazing bright deeply saturated (that means bright) red, very strong and vibrant but not orange. So that chair is no longer BROWN. Now it is RED.
Ok on my monitor that looks a little orange but I assure you it isn’t orange at all.
This whole process of finding my own self, after 30 years of sharing self with someone else, is kind of effervescent. As hard as it has been, the process of being torn in half, being rebuilt (rebound, patched up, whatever) is an adventure. My voice is different from his in many ways. I miss his voice. I miss going to Lowe’s with him and his opinion on stuff and the proper way to fix biscuits.
One of our first arguments after getting married was about biscuits. The other one was about cole slaw. And dumplings. We had vastly different opinions about those things. I will probably go back to making a vinegar based slaw and thin crusty biscuits and thick fluffy dumplings.
But the red chair….that took a little bit of hurdling, mentally. Was I dishonoring him, by painting the chair he was so adamant against having painted? Am I dishonoring him by packing up the James Bond and WW2 movies and choosing documentaries? Maybe. I don’t know. I choose to believe he is too busy doing other stuff right now, to care that the chair is red or the slaw is vinegary. I know, if he weren’t busy not caring, that he would be kind of hurt and feel a bit disrespected. He was incredibly sentimental about nearly everything, and wanted stuff to remain as it was. And that was part of his charm. But I wanted that chair to be red for years.
And in this BROWN living room (which likely will get painted this Summer, when I am not off gallivanting), a bright red chair will cheer this place up. If I end up not liking it I’ll paint it black or something.