Dissociation and tricks of the brain

Something happens when I rearrange the furniture. It’s like part of my brain that was sleeping, wakes up and realises that I’m living in my own home where I can do that now. For a few weeks I look at everything with fresh eyes and find myself stirring out of the numb dissociation and actually paying attention to the miracle that is stable housing. It doesn’t take a lot. I’ve recently moved my bed about 30cm away from the window, and stuck a cardboard box down the gap to act as a second side table. Suddenly my room is fresh and exciting. Today I secreted a few indoors friendly plants in small pots out of my garden and put them on the window sill. My inner house-people, the younger ones who love baking and having a beautiful home, prick up their ears. My goth starts dreaming of painting poems on the doorframes, of wall chandeliers full of candles. I start dreaming of peaceful sleep.

In the early hours of this morning, while it was cool and I could move about without feeling ill, I begun the task of rearranging my studio. This time the entire room is being moved around a single, critical need: that I have only one form of refrigerated air conditioning in my unit, and it is the freestanding kind that needs to be vented out a window. Previously one of my art desks blocked the window entirely. I have also had a lot of trouble with the curtains. The hooks that hold up the curtains constantly snag on the netting behind them when I try to open or close them. If I pull too vigorously, the curtain rod falls down. The netting is too long for the window so it gets caught under anything I put under the desk, and the dog and cat get tangled in it when they try to look out the window, also pulling the curtain down. With the wide desk in front of the window I simply can’t easily open or close them, so they either live open and I vacate the studio once it’s dark and keep the door shut, or they live closed and I vacate the studio during the day. I once lived in a horrible bachelor pad where the house stank of mould from the bathroom, off food in the fridge or from various half finished meals left in bowls around the house, the blinds were rarely opened and the floor stuck to your feet. I was desperately unhappy and constantly trying to clean it up but when your flatmates are trashing it daily it’s not a happy place to be. I now particularly hate having the curtains drawn during the day. I tolerate it during extremely hot weather, but the rest of the time, if I’m out of bed, the curtains are opened. I crave and love the light when it’s there, and open windows letting in fresh air and the sound of birds and traffic and the far off trains.

So I’ve changed things around, freeing up the entire window, removed the netting, and changed one of the curtains. I was going to change both because the original blue were also only just wide enough to cover the window which also made life tricky, but I love the effect of one of each. In theory, once I’ve cleared away the rest of the mess, I should be able to wheel my air conditioner in there, shut the door, and make art in the cool.

It’s not perfect, both tables/desks are awkward sizes, one very long and one very wide, but I think for now it will work. Hopefully it will help me get back in there and get my fingers dirty, seeing the space with fresh eyes and reclaiming my constantly dimming sense of ownership over it can only be a good thing. Either way, it still feels good to have done something.

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