Based on my previous post, I think it’s clear that I’ve been having a rough go at life. Since May it’s been just one thing after another that has really left me feeling defeated. Granted, I’ve still had a wonderful fall, I’ve had wonderful experiences and have met and cultivated great friendships, but there have just been a couple areas that have really gotten me. Particularly in the past few weeks.
On Thursday of last week, I received a text message from my friend, E. The text said “Hi friend, any chance I could borrow your apartment keys while you’re at the winery Saturday? I just want to freshen things up for you and I have a surprise for you.” My first thought was “Oh my god, she’ll see how messy I am! I have no time to clean up! What will she think of me?! Will she not want to be my friend anymore?” I already had plans Thursday and Friday night, so I knew I wouldn’t really have any time to hide my unkempt ways. And honestly, I didn’t have it in me to try and hide anything. I was exhausted, from everything. I decided to just jump, trust her, trust our friendship and accept her offer.
E and I have been friends for between 6-7 years, meeting at my last job. She was someone I instantly liked, but it took some time before we decided to cross the work/friends boundary line but once we did, there was no going back. That several-hour happy hour solidified a friendship that would stay strong throughout a myriad of life changes. We found so many common denominators between us in very unique and random areas. I had never met someone so similar, yet incredibly inspiring to me. When she decided to go to law school, I knew it would mean less happy hours, less of her I would get. But, I was too proud of her to worry about that. I knew we’d be OK. This year, she finished school and passed the bar, meaning that I have been fortunate enough to have more time with her. She has been a rock I have leaned on this summer, giving me advice, listening to me rant and cry. She has laughed with me, and I with her. We’ve sat in silence on the phone, and shared some of our hardest challenges and failures over bottles of wine. There is no other friendship in my life like the one I have with her.
On Saturday, she met me at the winery at 11am and I handed over my spare keys, with no conditions. I knew nothing of what was going to happen, but she said would be there when I got home that evening, meaning she was going to spend an entire day in my apartment. All day long, I struggled with the feelings of guilt: for not being a more organized person, for needing help, for feeling like I didn’t have my life together. It’s bizarre how deep buried issues can come up from the most random of situations. The way I got through those feelings was knowing that I could trust E with them, because, like I, she also understands severe independence and what I like to call “early onset control issues” aka being a kid, but knowing that you were the only person who could actually get shit done. But I digress.
I walked into my apartment at 6:30pm and immediately spotted new accessories on my entryway table. It looked so chic and modern I gasped. There was this incredibly bright but cozy smell coming from a duo of lit candles beckoning me to continue my walk through. The hallway had a new rug, giving a fun texture on my feet, and a new pottery vase was sitting on my bookshelf. My kitchen was supremely clean and all the shit I had laying all over the counter tops had been properly stowed in cabinets. I had a new ceramic travel mug sitting next to my coffee pot, begging to be used with a super cute wooden handle. Up to this point, I was already amazed, but when I turned into the living room, my jaw hit the floor. Not only had the room been completely rearranged, but I had new covers on my couches, a new lamp, a large area rug, and all kinds of little details that I am still discovering the next day: baskets, storage, a journal, candles, a small globe, throw pillows, a new toy for Ginger, a throw blanket. It was incredible. It felt spacious but cozy, cool tones of color that were relaxing but also rich. It was everything I had no idea I wanted and/or needed. It felt incredibly grown-up but inviting as well. When I was able to pick my jaw up from the floor, I walked into my dining room which was cleaner, had a lovely smelling candle burning on my table, and had been rearranged just a smidge. Finally, it was time to see my bedroom, which had not been rearranged, but had been cleaned, and fresh new bedding added. I have a new bedside lamp that I absolutely love, with an oversize coffee mug that reads “Unleash your inner sparkle” and a bottle of lemon blossom lotion that is both soothing and invigorating at the same time (how?!). My new bedding is perfect. She absolutely nailed what I needed. It’s a bright and clean look, with just enough detail for texture, but not busy. It’s soft and cozy without being heavy which would make me feel like I can never get out of bed. There’s a throw pillow with “Hello” written in gold script that reminds me to greet each day. It is an absolute delight to lay in my bed, but when I do leave it, my feet hit a soft rug with a beautiful pattern that delights my eyes but also my feet. Ginger also received new bedding in the bedroom with hopes that she won’t be in the bed any longer. It’s a work in progress, but I think we can get there. In addition to all of this, she also left me with more organizational things for my closet, some spray paint for my furniture and some lovely string lights that I’m hoping to hang on my porch.
To say I was in shock does not adequately portray the emotions that were coursing through me. I spent all day Sunday in my apartment. It’s the first day I’d had with no plans in a few weeks and I was delighted to just enjoy my new space. I woke up to the softness of the sheets on my body, and sunlight poking through the curtains. I made coffee and proceeded to drink it in bed, with the sunshine pouring in, listening to music and starting this post. Now, let me back up and explain why that’s a big deal.
If it’s not clear, I haven’t been writing much all this year. Especially this summer. And that has been intentional. I have been avoiding time with my laptop. I don’t know exactly why, but the thought of sitting down and processing through everything that’s been going on has terrified me. It has overwhelmed me and exhausted me. It has trampled over me before I could even think about it. So, I’ve just ignored my gut. I’ve ignored my need to process in the way that I’ve been processing for damn near 25 years. Writing has always been my release, and I knew when I was intentionally avoiding it, that I had gotten too cluttered. But Sunday morning, waking up in my newly designed, calm, and welcoming space, I had the urge to write. I had to urge to relax and pamper myself. I had a very lazy day. I wrote, I drank coffee, I watched some TV, I napped (oh boy, did I nap!), I ordered dinner, and I simply basked in my home. It was everything.
I don’t know how I will ever repay E for what she has done for me. Her time, her love, her money, her vision, her incredible home decorating skills…..she didn’t just give me a clean apartment to come home to. She gave me a space that freed up my mind, and it opened up my heart to begin writing, to begin dreaming, to begin planning. She gave me a place to rest and relax, but that will still encourage and inspire me. She gave me a home that I can invite people into and share with, or retreat into when I need some time to myself. Everything is balanced and in turn it makes me feel balanced. It makes me feel successful (even though I’m not the one who picked it all out) and professional. It reminds me that I am, in fact, an adult.
On top of everything, it makes me feel incredibly loved. To know that she would give up nearly a whole day of her weekend, to get really sweaty and dirty by herself in my apartment just for me is astounding. In one day, she demonstrated every single love language there is. I know that she expects nothing in return for this, as this is just simply, friendship. I know she doesn’t hold a scorecard, but I cannot wait until I can do something for her. Not because I “owe” her, but because I love her so, so, so, so much. Thank you, E. I love you with all my heart.