I've never been good with asking for help; it seems risky, but at some point when things are really dicey, your stubbornness gives way to a certain form of humility that, after you get over yourself, feels liberating. I started to believe that the universe was conspiring to help me finish my house, sending people along at the right moment.
I think I'm more curious than I used to be - curious about why people live like they do and how they make sense of their time... Do they see how the sun has made it like a champion around the world overnight, and that all day today we get another chance to be brave, to exercise our humanity with boldness and deft precision?
I took a deep, overly exaggerated breath, the sort of over-the-top gesture that was filmed for commercials about scented laundry detergent, but in this case was my way of trying to absorb every molecule of my old normal life. I loved the smell of the living room, the kitchen, Jenna's recycling porch, the cupboards, and the basement laundry room. I loved everything, and it seemed to love me back. It was as if my heart had grown to three times its normal size, and it could now hold the specialness of every person who crossed my path; it could track how phenomenal every scent, sound, taste, or texture was. Everything was beautiful, even if it was just the laundry that I'd pulled out of the dryer, still warm, and hugged like a small, lost child.
deep quotesoverly quotesexaggerated quotesbreath quotessort quotesoverthetop quotesgesture quotesfilmed quotescommercials quotesscented quoteslaundry quotesdetergent quotescase quotesabsorb quotesmolecule quotesnormal quoteslife quotesloved quotessmell quotesliving quotesroom quoteskitchen quotesjennas quotesrecycling quotesporch quotescupboards quotesbasement quotesroom quoteslove quotesback quotesheart quotesgrown quotestimes quotessize quoteshold quotesspecialness quotesperson quotescrossed quotespath quotestrack quotesphenomenal quotesscent quotessound quotestaste quotestexture quotesbeautiful quotespulled quotesdryer quoteswarm quoteshugged quotessmall quoteslost quoteschild quotes
Whose idea was it that we should all get jobs, work faster, work better, race from place to place with our brains stewing on tweets, blogs, and sound bites, on must-see movies, must-do experiences, must-have gadgets, when in the end, all any of us will have is our simple beating heart, reaching up for the connection to whoever might be in the room or leaning into our mattress as we draw our last breath?
idea quotesjobs quoteswork quotesfaster quotesrace quotesplace quotesbrains quotesstewing quotestweets quotesblogs quotessound quotesbites quotesmustsee quotesmovies quotesmustdo quotesexperiences quotesmusthave quotesgadgets quotesend quotessimple quotesbeating quotesheart quotesreaching quotesconnection quotesroom quotesleaning quotesmattress quotesdraw quotesbreath quotes
I had no idea that "letting go" would be so complicated; that it would sometimes feel liberating and other times more sorrowful and lonely. In the long run, most of it was like standing on the shore, watching your family set sail for America, and they're smiling and waving good-bye, and getting smaller and smaller, but you are still the same size with no one to talk to.
idea quotesletting quotescomplicated quotesfeel quotesliberating quotestimes quotessorrowful quoteslonely quoteslong quotesrun quotesstanding quotesshore quoteswatching quotesfamily quotesset quotessail quotesamerica quotessmiling quoteswaving quotesgoodbye quotessmaller quotessmaller quotessize quotestalk quotes
That obstinate sense of independence was the biggest challenge I face in building my little house (that, and not always knowing what I was doing). I was stubborn in the way I hated to ask for help. Some people are good at it, asking friends or their husbands to collect ginger ale and crackers at the grocery because they feel nauseous, or standing on the side of the road with a tire iron in one hand, hoping someone will stop to change their flat tire. I'm not like that; I'd rather have a rough stick dragged across my gums than walk to the neighbor's house to borrow sugar or ask for help jump-starting my car.
obstinate quotessense quotesindependence quotesbiggest quoteschallenge quotesface quotesbuilding quoteshouse quotesknowing quotesstubborn quoteshated quotespeople quotesgood quotesfriends quoteshusbands quotescollect quotesginger quotesale quotescrackers quotesgrocery quotesfeel quotesnauseous quotesstanding quotesside quotesroad quotestire quotesiron quoteshand quoteshoping quotesstop quoteschange quotesflat quotestire quotesrough quotesstick quotesdragged quotesgums quoteswalk quotesneighbors quotesborrow quotessugar quotesjumpstarting quotescar quotes
I recognized that I was small and soft; I wanted to believe in people - that they were kind and good, and given the chance, everything would turn out okay - but bad things do happen, and sometimes the best you can do is swim through them, focus, and years later say, "Ya, I know that feeling, " when some smart ass asks whether you've ever been so scared you wanted to pee your pants.
Whatever you call me, my parents encouraged me to go to college and become a book lover, and to trust that I could do nearly anything if I could find the right book at the library. It was true; books had saved me in my home remodeling projects, but they fell short in teaching me how to trust my instincts, and how to stop thinking with my educated brain and more with my kneecaps and butt cheeks.
call quotesparents quotesencouraged quotescollege quotesbook quoteslover quotestrust quotesfind quoteslibrary quotestrue quotesbooks quotessaved quoteshome quotesremodeling quotesprojects quotesfell quotesshort quotesteaching quotesinstincts quotesstop quotesthinking quoteseducated quotesbrain quoteskneecaps quotesbutt quotescheeks quotes
If more people understood how nice it is to have a sense of home that extends past our locked doors, past our neighbors' padlocks, to the local food co-op and library, the sidewalks busted up by old trees - if we all held home with longer arms - we'd live in a very different place... We wouldn't feel so alone, no matter the size of our houses or our bank accounts, no matter whether we had good health or congestive heart failure. We would begin to see that each moment presents an opportunity to relax, to notice that the wind has shifted and a storm is coming, or that our friend's toddler has decided to wear dinner instead of eating it. We would see that each minute counts for something timeless and, if we want, we all can find our way inside these big, tiny, moments.
people quotesunderstood quotesnice quotessense quoteshome quotesextends quotespast quoteslocked quotesdoors quotesneighbors quotespadlocks quoteslocal quotesfood quotescoop quoteslibrary quotessidewalks quotesbusted quotestrees quotesheld quoteslonger quotesarms quoteslive quotesplace quotesfeel quotesmatter quotessize quoteshouses quotesbank quotesaccounts quotesgood quoteshealth quotescongestive quotesheart quotesfailure quotesbegin quotesmoment quotespresents quotesopportunity quotesrelax quotesnotice quoteswind quotesshifted quotesstorm quotescoming quotesfriends quotestoddler quotesdecided quoteswear quotesdinner quoteseating quotesminute quotescounts quotestimeless quotesfind quotesinside quotesbig quotestiny quotesmoments quotes
Books had rescued me when i most needed saving... Books were smarter than me and words inspired me... to try something new, charge forward without a clear understanding of what would happen next, because "given something like death, what does it matter if one looks foolish now and then, or tries too hard, or cares too deeply?" In the end, Thoreau, Whitman, Hafiz, and a dozen other writers put me up to the task of seeing if I dared to "live a life worth living.
books quotesrescued quotesneeded quotessaving quotessmarter quoteswords quotesinspired quotescharge quotesforward quotesclear quotesunderstanding quoteshappen quotesdeath quotesmatter quotesfoolish quoteshard quotescares quotesdeeply quotesend quotesthoreau quoteswhitman quoteshafiz quotesdozen quoteswriters quotesput quotestask quotesdared quoteslive quoteslife quotesworth quotesliving quotes
Perhaps the current state of my health should have raised a bright red caution flag, but instead it fired me up. I wanted to do what I wanted. I didn't care if hefting plywood and climbing ladders weren't on my doctor's recommended list of activities, or if I was foolhardy to think I could lift a fifty-pound roll of tar paper into and then out of my car. I was going to do it because it sounded like a blast, like the best possible way to have fun.
current quotesstate quoteshealth quotesraised quotesbright quotesred quotescaution quotesflag quotesfired quoteswanted quoteswanted quotescare quoteshefting quotesplywood quotesclimbing quotesladders quotesdoctors quotesrecommended quoteslist quotesactivities quotesfoolhardy quoteslift quotesfiftypound quotesroll quotestar quotespaper quotescar quotessounded quotesblast quotesfun quotes
We were taught not to offer or invite aid, because, like it or not, helping is a messy, confused proposition; sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong, and sometimes you have no choice but to trust that the man holding your tire iron, cussing at your old lug nuts, is a deeply kind human after all.
I had worked my way through a thousand problems, like when the tar paper bulged on the corners so I used a strap wrapped around the whole house and ratcheted it tight to attach the trim; I had figured that out without using a book, and that was just one of a bunch of ideas that had saved the day. I liked it; I was falling in love with the way my kneecaps knew how to hold a piece of plywood halfway up till I could grab the underside with my hand. I like the way the little house was taking shape, and the way it seemed to double-dog dare me to step in... move in.
worked quotesthousand quotesproblems quotestar quotespaper quotesbulged quotescorners quotesstrap quoteswrapped quoteshouse quotesratcheted quotestight quotesattach quotestrim quotesfigured quotesbook quotesbunch quotesideas quotessaved quotesday quotesfalling quoteslove quoteskneecaps quotesknew quoteshold quotespiece quotesplywood quoteshalfway quotestill quotesgrab quotesunderside quoteshand quotestaking quotesshape quotesdoubledog quotesdare quotesstep quotesmove quotes
My friends stood on the ground two feet below me, and miles away from understanding why I would want to sleep on a trailer platform... I couldn't possibly begin to explain what was only beginning to bud inside me: I wanted a home. I wanted to be at home, in the world and in my body (a feeling I had been missing since I'd woken up in the hospital) and somehow, in some as yet undefined way, I knew that windows in the great room and a skylight over my bed were going to help with that.
friends quotesstood quotesground quotesfeet quotesmiles quotesunderstanding quotessleep quotestrailer quotesplatform quotespossibly quotesbegin quotesexplain quotesbeginning quotesbud quotesinside quoteswanted quoteshome quoteshome quotesworld quotesbody quotesfeeling quotesmissing quoteswoken quoteshospital quotesundefined quotesknew quoteswindows quotesgreat quotesroom quotesskylight quotesbed quotes
ultimately quoteshoped quotestinyhouse quotesguy quotessimilar quotessane quotesperson quotesbig quotesagenda quotessimply quoteswanted quotesmake quotessense quotesworld quotescreate quotesmap quotesx quotesmiddle quoteslabeled quoteshome quotesmeant quotesshrinking quotesworld quotessize quotesarea quotesrug quotes