FUTURE-BUILDING, UPPER BODY STRENGTH EDITION

by Lisa

I flirted with an old shame last weekend.  I bought a piece of furniture that I don’t really need, but that I wanted for its potential role in my future.

That chair is ugly by any measure. No one loves a brown and black itchily-upholstered recliner with wood arms and a footrest crank mechanism that shows when it’s open.  No one loves that, but me.  With the favored quilt thrown over it, the itch problem goes away. I’ll have to re-cover that woven nylon with something a little more plush, but not yet.

My shame in furniture purchases runs deep.  In my fourth segment of life, bringing home a thrift shop treasure meant enduring a kind of Chinese water torture.  The beginning felt kind of pleasant and fun: mild teasing over my odd taste, maybe later a compliment after a makeover if I was lucky.  If my luck failed and the project didn’t look showroom-ready, the drips on my forehead grew more acidic and more frequent with time, until I was being yelled at about my disrespect for my family for bringing trash into the house.  I couldn’t resist making a nice place cluttered and ugly, could I?

This little recliner reminded me of a very sweet one in my love’s upstairs spare room.  When I sat in this less charming one at the yard sale, I imagined sitting with him on a porch in our future, rocking a little, feet up, a pitcher of tea on a tray on a side table with two glasses filled and more waiting to be filled, in case a daughter or two arrived.  We held hands.  We smiled.  We had reupholstered, not matching, but complementing.  That image, so hopeful, sank into my soul.

The yard sale recliner went into my trunk, and the contents of the trunk went into my back seat.  My love and carried it into my house, but I felt embarrassed about it, every bit of it.  I should have taken it in alone. He asked where it would go, and I didn’t have a good answer.  It went anywhere for the time being, but mostly, it went into a place in my heart where the maybes still linger.

The shame came on, harsh and heartless.  I had just purchased a nice room divider, and my ex-husband helped me move it into the house.  I refused his help in placing it, refused to listen to his drip of opinion beyond my odd taste in home decorating, and shooed him away with many thanks for the use of his truck.  That funny stack of shelves and drawers suits the room beautifully now, but the thing weighs more than I do, and certain parts of my body are still protesting my stubbornness.  To avoid more protesting muscles, I let my love carry the little ugly recliner into the house for me and with me, despite my uninvited shame.

When my darling weigh-and-balance Libra love commented on my home-is-haven Cancer-ness, I felt a drip.  I felt awful.  I felt dumb for having that mess in my car and not enough room for him to sit.  Shame cuts deep, invisibly, paper cutting again and again unless real work is done.

So, I said out loud what had struck my heart when I sat in that chair.  I described my hope of sitting with him, and unexpectedly, he saw the porch, and the tea, and the holding of hands.  He understood.  He smiled with me at the thought.

He understood.

Shame runs from my truth, as silly as that truth might seem to anyone but me.  I am the same me that “brought trash into the house”, same me that saw future in that trash and had hope for a life lived with trash made into treasure, same me that finally put the treasure that looked like trash to everyone else on the curb for the next hopeful gleaner.

Now, right now, it’s time to rearrange some furniture to suit my present and my future.  Attach any symbolism you like, but I’m really going to clean my bedroom to make room for a little recliner, to keep it safe for rocking with my love, and sipping tea, and smiling.

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