Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Home is where you AREN'T DECORATING

I really hate living with the decorating process. Five rooms in the shared house where I live have been scheduled for decorating this summer, with my room as the fourth. I just finished moving out yesterday so that I can start the actual decorating work today, so I'm coming to you now from the cramped attic bedroom where I and all my stuff will be living for the next two weeks.

It should only be two weeks (he promised himself, in a tone of rising desperation..). My carpet is being fitted on September 1st, assuming nothing drastic goes wrong, and all the painting has to be done by then, for obvious reasons.

And it's not like this rash of decorating wasn't sorely needed; the three bathrooms all had bare plaster on most or all of the walls, the bedrooms have had bare floorboards poorly hidden by ratty rugs, and the less said about the fireplace in my room the better.

Thing is, I was actually happier living with the undecorated mess than I am living alongside the decorating process. Even undecorated, this place wasn't the worst place I've lived during my studenthood. At least here, none of the walls move if you lean on them, and none of the beams are propped up on loose bricks. The damp only gets in in one room, rather than pretty much all of them.

I've found I can live with a degree of comfort in even pretty dilapidated environments provided those environments aren't in flux. If things are more or less static, settled, I can tolerate them. The kind of constant moving around entailed by decorating, though, makes me a little bit crazy. If I'm not worrying myself sick about some task that still needs doing, I'm getting irrationally irritated by one or other of my housemates not acting exactly to my convenience right now. It's to the point that I'm actually going to take a few days out and visit my parents over this weekend, because I'm worried I'll snap if I don't.

All of this is because I'm a very home-focussed person. This is more than just a nice way of saying I'm a hopeless shut-in (though, of course, I am a hopeless shut-in). My comfort zone is limited to pretty much 'being surrounded by my stuff, arranged my way'. It's a safety net, in more ways than one. Knowing I have a comfortable comfort zone to come back to after anything where I go outside my comfort zone makes it a lot easier to try things, particularly since, as a writer, I can leave my comfort zone way behind just by sitting at my computer and pushing my craft.

Once the work is complete, I will have a stronger comfort zone than I do now. 'My room' will be much more mine with my choice of colours on the walls, a carpet, and less dust (if you could actually sell dust bunnies as pets, I would have made an absolute killing yesterday while moving out). For the next couple of weeks, though, I'm on a bit of an emotional tightrope.

Hopefully the most dramatic thing that will happen is publishing the next episode of The Second Realm on Saturday (hint hint).

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