{August 24, 2012}   Patchwork Paint

The second bedroom in my house is being painted today. I’m excited because it definitely needs it. Not because it harbors some old pea green version of 70’s style or unicorn wallpaper from a child that once was, but because it can cover the damage I have inflicted on it and hopeful erase the sub par work I accepted before.

I want to move. I’m ready to leave the Midwest so I’ve been sprucing up my place with the hope that I cam sell or at least rent my first home. It’s obvious I’m in a transition in life because I see symbolism everywhere. Today, I see the obvious but nonetheless symbolic… The healing effect of paint.

When first moved to this house I was a first-time homebuyer. I’d done research on mortgages, apr figures (basically loan rates), downloaded checklists for viewing property, and read or browsed a dozen books and thrice as many websites. What I forgot to look for was patchwork. Not the hole in floor covered by a rug a la Money Pit, but the kind that signals just pure laziness, not a tricky cleverness. Examples would be smoke detectors stuck to the ceiling because they were painted over rather than removed. Patchy old linoleum under carpet, carpet laid directly on the original hardwood (industrial staples in the floor and all), basement flooring separating from from the foundation, borders and frames where the old peeling paint wasn’t sanded before painting. Nothing completely unbearable but items that served as a daily reminder that I definitely had more bargaining room. I can’t stand when I miss a discount.

In the five years living here my I haven’t always taken the best care of the house. I haven’t always required people take their shoes off when stepping on the original hardwood. I didn’t always require visitors to be respectful of my property, trying to appear laid back. This resulted in scratches on the floor and patches of paint missing in the specific bedroom that is being painted. In resentment that my condo isn’t as nice as other people’s homes I probably haven’t shown the house all the respect that I should have. After all, it may not be much but it is mine, which is more than most people can say for their place of domicile.

In a lot of ways it kind of reminds me of myself. How I let other people’s actions or lack there of taint my view of myself. Rather than seeing the value I originally saw, every new discovery of someone else’ incompetence I let fester in frustration and eventually altered how I saw myself (or my house – there was a time I hated my condo because I felt I could have done better). In an effort to be accommodating of others I let people mistreat me. Nothing obstinate or overt but subtle insults and injuries that I let add up and go unchecked for years. I added to it by inflicting my own emotional punishments on myself. All adding up until a condo that at least at first glance appeared to be neat a put together, a nice find, now has obvious flaws and needs some major work much like it’s owner.

I wish that I could hire someone to cover my flaws the way the painter is doing upstairs. I wish I could simply move on from myself like I am attempting to do with this condo. I am resisting the urge to simply cover up the damage and walk away like the previous owners, but sometimes I wish I could do that with my choices in life. Rather I must put in the work and actually repair my damage, not just patch it up.


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