Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We're Painting the Roses...Pink?

I have lived in my house for seven months now, and in those seven months my boyfriend Micah and I have painted four rooms.  Considering there are only seven rooms in this house, that is pretty significant.

But for now, I would like to talk about my kitchen and dining room.  Because I love the pretty pinks associated with Charleston, South Carolina's Rainbow Row, I was inspired to paint these two rooms controversial shades of coral.  I say controversial because each time I tell someone I painted my kitchen pink, their response is a polite silence with wide eyes and a nod that says, "You have really bad taste."

It definitely hurt my feelings at first; especially when I invited my brother, John, over for the first time and he exclaimed, "I hope you aren't looking to sell your house in the near future.  This color is terrible!"  After spending two full days painting, this was the last thing I wanted to hear.

When Micah came over later that evening, I told him about my brother's visit, looking (I imagine) very deflated and pitiful.  He rubbed my back and asked, "Do you like your kitchen?" I nodded.  "Then that's all that matters, Holly.  This is your home, not his."

While this was a very logical and simple statement for Micah to make, it was liberating for me to hear.  Since I have purchased my home, I have been very reluctant to invite people over. Not because I am anti-social or ashamed of what I have, but because I want my house to be "perfect" before anyone sees it.  But I have realized that perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  Not everyone is going to like what I have picked for my home and probably no one will notice or anticipate the additional progress that I think needs to be made.  Curating a home takes time and is highly personal.  Who cares if someone doesn't like your aesthetic?  What matters is that you love where you live and how it looks.  For me, this has been a freeing revelation.

As for my brother?  My sweet sister-in-law decided to surprise him with a freshly painted kitchen recently.  She chose a lovely shade of beige with a noticeably pink tone to it.   

Thursday, July 25, 2013

From 16 to 26: A Reflection on Teenage Expectations

My twenty-sixth birthday is in just a few days, and I keep thinking about something I said when I was sixteen.

I remember I was part of a conversation about life in ten years with my youth group at church.  All the girls said something very similar: they would like to be married and have a baby.  I don't particularly remember saying that I wanted to have children at twenty-six, but I did expect to be married to a hot husband, have a cute apartment, and be a successful lawyer.

This conversation has been cycling through my thoughts lately.  As I get ready in the mornings, I wonder what my sixteen-year-old self would have to say about the person that I am at twenty-six.  Teenage Holly would probably be impressed with the fact that I own a house, but disappointed that I don't have a pool and my bedroom isn't painted purple.  She would think that my boyfriend is ridiculously good looking, but wonder why there is no ring.  She would be disappointed that I became a teacher, especially considering she vehemently argued she never would.  She would be happy that I'm not overweight because that was always one of her biggest fears, but she would be disappointed that I rarely paint my nails.

I think about who I was a sixteen, and I wish I could tell her that one day she will come into her own.  I would advise her to not view life so superficially.  Explain there will be hard times, times where she will severely doubt herself, but eventually everything will fall into place.  I feel grateful that I did not become the person I hoped I would; that "dream" person was designed by someone who didn't understand what was to come.

I think the older I get, the more open I am to allowing life to just happen.  That doesn't mean to let go of responsibilities, but to stop agonizing over what might be and what could be.  Simply try to enjoy the moment for what it is and adapt to life's fluctuations as they come.

I may not fit the mold that I once created for myself, but I feel proud of who I have become.  I have a career in which I can help others grow, a loving and supportive family, a boyfriend who is abundantly patient and unwavering, and friends with hearts of gold.  I am far more successful than I could have ever imagined.