For weeks, months now I have been pacing around our newly-bought flat like a caged, worried tiger. The noise form the street worries me. The trash around the bin worries me. The lack of a balcony worries me. But more than anything, I am worried that I made a mistake. Missed a trick, was a fool, fucked up.
I read property ads like masochist porn, imagining life on that roof terrace or in that bath. On that quiet street, or even on the West side of town. Everywhere, these imagined lives, in imagined houses are infinitely more peaceful than my own.
When we first moved in there was one flat I would love to walk passed on the ground floor. They always had their curtains open, and on winter nights they formed an idyllic tableau of homefulness – a young couple with a curly haired toddler and a small baby. Early evening you could see toddler eating in his highchair. Later on the wife would usually be spread out on the couch watching TV with a glass of wine, the husband on his computer. On the window they had a sticker “classical music is good for breastfeeding” and hanging up in the window were colourful streamers from birthdays gone by, and a window sill full of plants. One day, the living room was full of moving boxes and then suddenly they were gone, leaving some rubble and their breastfeeding sticker.
I think what I yearned for in that house was this settled, loving homeliness and care. You had the feeling you wanted to live there. Meanwhile, our house was full of boxes and unpainted walls, furniture to be collected and a bed which is (still) in parts on the bedroom floor.
Today I went to see the psychologist I have been appointed to help with ADD and spilled out to him the story, about being worried our flat, worried I made the wrong decision. In the telling I realised how overwhelmed I was by the move, by the hundred practical details of a move that I find so hard to get a grasp on, of my already chaotic systems of filing papers and clothes being shook up and turned upside down. Of the frustration of having so many ideas of how I would like the flat to be, and being unable to do them. These fears of having made a wrong decision go to the heart of something else: a sense of competency, a sense of being in control which for me is so hard won.
Finally crying about this felt so good. I walked out softer, brighter. Mysteriously, all the trash bags around the bin had disappeared.