Draperies were hung in the master bedroom, which means that room is, more or less, finished. At least as finished as I can handle at this juncture. I need to move a recliner from the guest bedroom, where it is too large for the space, into this room, and eventually I will change out the coverlet and pursue other small bits, but I am not prepared to tackle any further changes at this time. Now it is time to settle in.
Hanging the draperies, and finishing the master bedroom is a huge relief, and, just as I was rather startled that it was so important to me, I am bemused at how happy I feel. Of course, having the bedroom appear "dressed" suits its location at the center of the public living spaces in this house, as I began to discuss back in September, when I wrote about my discomfort with this one aspect of the layout of this house, a layout I otherwise love. I smile, a tiny bit mockingly, at myself because this is the most formally styled wall in my house, the most "done", and I recognize that this level of symmetrical formality is important here simply because this is the most problematic space for me. I would perhaps prefer a bit more emotional distance in the layout of the house, between sleeping quarters and public quarters, but I also recognize that it is not the presence of the bed that I find too personal, unless of course I left it unmade and rumpled. I suppose that is what bothered me before; the bedroom was an afterthought, a bed and scattered bits of furniture that fit nowhere else. It was not cohesive, and truthfully not even that comfortable or functional. It was that very sense of unfinishedness that felt like an invasion of privacy, combined with an odd mixture of feeling both unwelcoming and exposed, and I live here. I could, and did, close the door, but in my own convoluted psychology, I find the closed door to be more of an affront than an open door. But an open door requires acknowledgement of the line between public and private, a public face for an essentially private space. Now that I think of it, much like the photograph by Matthew Pillsbury above the bed, shown below, also a study in the public and the private, but from the opposite perspective. In the photo, we are within the realm of the private looking out, the photo is the focal point of space designed to be seen from the public, looking in. Public and private, juxtapositions and contrasts.
This is the first house in my adult life in which I have hung draperies. I made draperies for home economics in 9th grade, I seem to recall that the project entailed lined floor to ceiling draperies in pink polished cotton for a 9 foot wall. My mother insisted I do them properly and perfectly and it was probably the first big project I ever undertook and actually finished. When I moved into George's house we pulled down all the draperies ostensibly because I thought they were ugly, but even more importantly, because they were badly made, and that alone drove me to distraction. We never put up new drapes. Neither of us was so inclined. My own taste tends to run toward shutters and bamboo shades, but neither of those really worked in that house, and we had fabric shades installed. We had the same kind of honeycomb shades installed in this house, but although I never missed draperies in Hyde Park, here the lack of draperies, at least in a couple or rooms, really niggled away in a corner of my brain.
The other thing that really tickles me no end, and is kind of silly, is that this is the bedroom I might have wished I had 2 1/2 years ago, in March through May of 2014, when I was a prisoner in my own bedroom. It is the room I wished I lived in when I could not stand for more than 20 or 30 seconds, could not sit that long, when even those rare 20 second excursions left me in severe pain for hours. And yet my friends visited me, brought me flowers and made me tea, brought me food and stayed to chat. They didn't come for the décor, and on one level the décor doesn't matter. It is all ephemeral. I probably won't live here forever. I hopefully will not be confined to that room again, but if it does become my world I will be happy. I can equally hold onto my penchant for the particulars of how a space looked, an inclination not realized until fairly recently, and my complete belief and understanding that it doesn't matter.
The funny thing is that, even though I was in pain, even though I was terribly dependent on others, even though my house was a mess and was beyond my control, I could be happy. I had no control over my physical circumstances, but I did have control over my inner self. Happiness doesn't come from things, or even necessarily from the circumstances of life or the world around you. It comes from within. But we are also all human, and we all have our little indulgences, and the things we do over and over again. And we all like to put up a good front when we can, even sometimes if it is too little too late. It is a delicate balance, this act of respecting and honoring ourselves and others while at the same time holding ourselves and each other both closely and lightly. Let us watch ourselves and each other with bemused tenderness, and seize joy where we find it.