Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on Fresh Paint

Over the course of the past year and a half or so, I've been slowly changing the colors of all the rooms of my house. It started with the three-season porch (red to purple), then the master bedroom (nicotine off white to eucalyptus green), the kitchen (awful pastel sea green to straw yellow), and finally my living/dining room space, which has been the source of my labor for the past three days. This process has proven to be most therapeutic.

The history of my tenure in this home is a sad one. The emotional wounds have long scarred over and I have no wish to scratch them here, but occasionally a wound re-opens and I find myself wanting to live somewhere else. However, because of the timing of my purchase, there isn't a economically wise way out of the mortgage. So I'm left to deal with it, but I decided I'm not going to live with it "as is." My method of sealing the wounds for good involves paint, and not only the new color but the process involved.

Before you can think of painting, cleaning must happen first. All the dust and grime needs to go, all the nail holes filled in. This part of the process was particularly wonderful the living room, since the "ex" had decided it a nice idea to hang a print with not two, not three, but EIGHT roofing nails! I don't need to say why this was unwise, but when the print was removed it was destroyed and the nails left nasty holes in the wall. The holes are no more, and after a few weeks of the new paint I probably won't remember them anymore.

The color itself is much brighter than the old. I went from the same nicotine-stain off white of the bedroom to a much brighter porcelain off white. It's still neutral, but the color actually makes the room look bigger. With every brush or roller stroke, I sealed away forever every disagreement, every name-calling, and every tear that was shed in this space before, during, and after that relationship. A fresh coat of paint has become more than a new color. It is an intrinsic method of healing and moving forward without a constant reminder of what is behind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts on Why I Voted

When I was younger, I used to get wrapped up in political issues. I often was involved in heated discussions at work or among friends regarding topics, myself falling on the more liberal side. I was dissatisfied and angry most of the time, and adversarial towards others who had different opinions.

Over time, I have become less concerned with large political things and more concerned with making my own way. Rather than go out and carry a sign and yell until I'm blue in the face, I focus on leading a life of peace and love; attempting to be the best person I can be. I learned I cannot improve the world by arguing over issues, but if I carry myself with respect and love for others I at least have a small chance of making a difference.

So when I strolled into the polling place this morning, I found myself wondering what I was doing there. Minnesota is electing a new governor, and while I watched enough of a debate to get an idea of who I liked best, I couldn't help thinking that the world will go on regardless of who is governor. And then there are all the small races, where only some of the names are familiar to me from seeing yard signs while walking the dog.

As I strolled out of the polling place it occurred to me that I vote because I can, and really no other reason. There are places in the world where elections are fixed, or the people are coerced into voting for one certain candidate. Even in our own country, it is as recent as a hundred years ago when women obtained the right to vote and as recent as fifty people of color obtained the same right. This is a right that was fought for, and not one to snub in the face. Lots of people put their hearts and souls into making sure people like me can have a say.

So although sometimes my methods are arbitrary (e.g. one of the small races, conservation officer or something like that, had a candidate with the same name as an uncle of mine, so I voted for him), at least I get out there and honor my right.