Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Going To The Big House

For about twenty years, Ms. SpoolTeacher lived in a little tiny apartment that was about twenty by twenty feet.

She was very active at the time working, of course, at a real job.

She spent a lot of time out with friends too and lots of time out helping her mother, about fifteen miles from where her little tiny nest was.

Right before she left home at nineteen, her mother started a fall into a clinical depression that lasted for five long, torturous years.

People who have never suffered from real depression, do not understand it. Most people think it is just a sad feeling that the person should be able to pull themselves out of.

Unfortunately, it is way deeper than that. Ms. SpoolTeacher knows because it runs in her family and she herself has had bouts here and there with fighting it off and out of her life. For some reason, so far, she has always been able to see the flicker of light at the end of the long, long, dark and oppressive tunnel; she would just focus on that and march, as best she could, toward the light.
She has, even now though, to keep vigilant watch over signs that indicate it could be cropping up.

She has pretty much come to the conclusion that it is directly tied to the stress one feels at being controlled by forces undesirable. She knows that stress is a motivator too, but has found the difference between good and bad stressors.

For many years in the little nest, she socked away all her extra money, dreaming of the day she could invest in a home of her own. It took years and years and for many of those years she knew that the timing was wrong. She would just have to wait.

She loved her little apartment. It was cozy and functional. The worst thing was not to have gardening space and be able to house pets. However; Pinky wandered into her apartment one day when she was sitting on the floor working on a bridesmaid dress for a friend. She didn't have any cat food, so she opened a can of bean and bacon soup and fed Pinky. Pinky would forever after be waiting at the foot of the stairs each night and meow her whole way up the stairs to Ms. SpoolTeacher's apartment all the while Ms. SpoolTeacher would be shushing her and telling her the landlord didn't allow cats, she'd better be quiet. Pinky would come in, get fed, spend the night and go out the next morning. That went on for years and the landlord, Johnny, turned a blind eye. Pinky was black as night but her little pink tongue was always showing because of a barely noticeable deformity with her mouth.

Outside the apartment was a nice deep walkway were, for many years, Ms. SpoolTeacher would plant anything she could in pots and attach a hose to the kitchen sink faucet and drag the hose through her living room to water those plants. She would also plant flowers and more flowers around the yard of her mother's home.
It wasn't until after her mother died that Ms. SpoolTeacher believed she had the focus and ambition to deal with the responsibility of a home of her own.

The difference between good and bad stress is hidden in the factor of choice, she has decided. If it is a stress of one's own design, it is tolerable and even growth provoking. If it is a stress imposed over which there is no perceived or actual control, it is debilitating.

Ms. SpoolTeacher only had to change real estate agents once to get the agent to follow her lead and not try to force her into something she didn't want.
"You're gonna have to give up the idea of that house", he said.
She said, "Bet me!" (But that's a whole nother story!)
So from four hundred square feet to one thousand nine hundred and seventy five square feet, she felt like a princess. And she would spend the next six years, three cats, two dogs, three boyfriends and countless hours digging dirt, painting walls, moving furniture, and hauling rocks, plants and amendments home in her beat up old purple truck.
She dragged Pinkie over in a harness kicking and screaming and eventually Pinkie got out and by that time Peter Rabbit and Stevie Weevie had arrived and Pinkie wasn't too fond of a baby cat and dog; so she just hung around the periphery, making her way around as she always had but never coming in to stay.
Ms. SpoolTeacher would make the house her own, but would never quite get finished with all the dreams she had before feeling like her next move was to let it go and find her way to more freedom and control of personal stress by downsizing and moving to a small rural community where the neighbors didn't want front lawns and landscapers and didn't mind if she parked her beat up old purple truck out in front of the house.

It was terribly, terribly hard to leave that dream. She had invested lots of herself and tons of money into discovering her right livelihood. But, it became clear that her right livelihood was more likely in Southeastern Arizona.
The new owners would let the ball grow back into a stump with two small arms and would dig up all the water-wise plantings, cut down the big umbrella fig tree in the back as well as take out all the years and years and work and work of grooming twenty year old hedges and remove the avocado tree, the purple Jacaranda tree, the lemon tree, and everything else that required love and understanding.

The neighbors must have been delighted. Another one of them to utilize the lawn man on the same day making for a steady stream of screaming, buzzing, booming lawn and garden tools and another green lawn that could consume more of the precious California water.

The pavers she had spent hours and hours of hauling and laying next to the drive would be removed too and more lawn laid.

She just can't understand why people do what they do. The drive with two cars in it is too narrow to get out of the vehicle without stepping into wet grass on a rainy day.

Why do people do what they do?

I guess it is none of her business.

The most important thing, she has decided, is to keep whatever little measure of control she can have over the choices she can make for how she wants her life to be. That is the best hope of stressors being controllable and not to lead to depression.

So, for now, she is happy to be sewing and gardening and making whatever she can to live, with the wits of her own mind and hands.

Now if she can just find some beautiful blue velvet or maybe lime green to make one of these old-fashioned smocked pillows.
What she is, is what she is, are you what you are or what?


  1. Ms. SpoolTeacher is so grateful to have someone as accomplished and talented as you are saying such a thing. *o)