Ever since I was a young girl I have made a full-fledged hobby of seeking out some of the most beautiful homes in the world. It was a delight that surely developed in the early 1990s as I sat in front of the television to watch every episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous that I could catch. From that point forward, the urge to spoil my creative impulses with a limitless supply of architectural and interior design became an itch that could never have been scratched enough.
There have been countless times when I have accidentally stayed up all night until daybreak intently studying Christie’s and Sotheby’s listings. These virtual adventures have led me to nearly every corner of the world, and I’ve loved every moment of it.
Ultra modern beach-side hideaways in Malibu. Romantic and rustic Italian farmhouses. Decadently renovated terrace houses in the heart of London. Outlandishly dreamy estates with unobstructed views of Repulse Bay. Cozy, hot cocoa-compatible chalets in the French Alps. Over the years, my favorite finds have served as overflowing treasure troves of design and decor inspiration that I hope to one day put to good use.
In fact, one of the things I most wish to have the opportunity to do in life is to design my own home so I can watch it being built from start to finish. From determining the exact dimensions of each closet to sourcing the ideal granite pattern to encase the kitchen island with, I would enjoy nothing more than to watch an entire property manifest from the imaginations of my mind.
Although the idea of designing and building a home from scratch has always excited me, I must admit that the entire process would only be feasible if I could hire an entire team of experts to help my wildest dreams come true. Sure, it’d be easy to sketch a drawing and point to where I think a staircase should go, but I would never trust myself to actually build one. I mean, I’m pretty handy with a hammer and power drill, just not that good.
Be that as it may, in 2019 I found myself independently taking on the most daunting construction project imaginable: Me.
Girl, Put Your Toolbox Away
After completing the demolition of my life in 2017 and overseeing the clearing away of its emotional debris in 2018, I landed in 2019 feeling optimistic, but uncertain. As I saw it, God had done a wonderful job removing negative or particularly detrimental influences from my life; I was and remain so grateful for that.
I also recognized that the land of my life had been flattened in preparation for the construction of a new and better future, but the destruction process admittedly left me feeling both robbed and lonely. To lose a friend or a job or a partner was one thing, but to experience the near eradication of everything I loved and cherished was entirely another.
Desiring to see full restoration as soon as possible, I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that end. I often found myself helplessly running around like a headless chicken, exerting unreasonable amounts of energy trying to “get things done”. Unfortunately, 2019 was yet another year of exercising the necessary, but highly annoying art of patience. God wasn’t interested in entertaining my proclivity to rush through life, so rush through life I didn’t– He made sure of it.
To my surprise and dismay, 2019 was not a year to rebuild as I had once assumed and hoped. At least, it wasn’t in the way I would have imagined. I had expected to end this year being able to look around me and see clear evidence of my life having been restored back to a form that resembles its former glory. However, there really isn’t much that I can point to in the physical and say, “I built that this year” because the only building that took place in 2019 did so within the constructs of my mind and heart.
Much of 2019 was greatly frustrated by my inability to appreciate the construction that was taking place in the realm of the unseen. After all, I couldn’t go on a date with “clarity of thought” anymore than I could pay bills with “ironclad faith”.
I’m a woman who likes speedy results and tangible rewards; my inability to officially launch the 1.5 million projects I wanted to start drove me utterly mad at times. I needed to see physical manifestations of the work I’d been putting in, not just “lesser” tokens and signs of greater events to come. As a result, God had to correct my impatience time and time again– among other things.
Never Too Cool To Be Schooled
Whenever I wasn’t busy having what I like to call “spiritual hissy fits” and sat down long enough to hear God’s reasoning for having me do things the way He was, I learned many important lessons. 2019 was a year for establishing the proper foundation for the specific life I am going to build, but instead of building the foundation of stone or concrete, it was built with wisdom and deeper spiritual understanding.
The biggest lesson I learned was to never despise small beginnings.
Though the end goal may seem far more exciting and pleasurable than the process of getting there, we should try not to grow weary and resentful of the journey itself. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, it can seem like a lifetime of work with little to no reward, but we must learn to make the very most of those formative moments. The same amount of time will pass whether we enjoy ourselves or start pulling our hair out by the roots, so we may as well use those seconds wisely.
Despite not exactly being where I wish to be, I have finally learned to have fun along the way and enjoy the best parts of where I am. The destination I wish to reach will undoubtedly strip me (or at least consume good portions) of the luxuries I currently enjoy, but could easily take for granted: unlimited amounts of “me time”, money for non-essential purchases, privacy, flexibility, autonomy, limited responsibility.
I recognize and appreciate the fact that I have not yet been thrust into the place God is taking me because it allows me time to say goodbye to a lifestyle that many people my age stopped being able to enjoy years ago.
People who are parents, for instance, have to care for one or more tiny (or maybe not so tiny) human beings on a 24/7/365 basis. Most of them can’t waste money on all the random and totally unnecessary things I find on Amazon late at night. It would also be unacceptable to routinely “forget” to go to the grocery store; Little Billy and Lola are going to want their Cocoa Puffs, you know?
Being a small fish in a big pond not only allows you to make a mess of things without too many people finding out, but it also grants you the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of bigger “fish” so you don’t make them yourself.
I cannot tell you how many things I’ve attempted in the last few years that simply did. not. work. out. Some things were humiliating because I’m an insufferable perfectionist and I didn’t approve of the mistakes, but other people probably didn’t notice those missteps. When you’re up and coming there is more leeway when it comes to mishaps because you haven’t established enough of a brand reputation or following to live up to– yet.
Practice makes perfect, so if you want to grow in an area and actually stay on top, consistency and polish is critical. The best way to reach that point is to seek out mentors or people who are experts in whatever field you are interested in. Talk to them, listen to lectures and interviews, read their books, do whatever you have to do to learn every failure and instance of poor judgement that is revealed to you. Then, don’t do any of those things! Cram as much info as you can into your brain and use that knowledge to help you perfect your craft.
Do not wait until you have the attention of hundreds, thousands, or even millions before you see yourself as great. You can be amazing now with just a party of one… yourself. Studying the journey that others took to get where you want to go is a great way to achieve that.
This is one of the most beneficial things I could have done in 2019, so I highly recommend it to anyone who is starting out on a new venture.
Ever since last year, I have been followed and borderline stalked by a single, particular phrase, “Go home.” I’d see it on commercials, hear it in songs, bump into it on the street– it was everywhere! I knew God was urging me to go somewhere, but where exactly?
Being a native Californian, I once had thought that “go home” meant for me to go back to where I was from. So, I got in the car one day and drove out there for a five-day vacation. Three days into the trip I got right back in the car and left because I wasn’t enjoying myself in the slightest and it no longer felt like home.
Next, I wondered if “home” was whichever locale made me feel the most at home in life, which would be London. However, any attempts to pursue that lead flopped as well.
This cryptic, but recurring command puzzled me all year until two weeks ago when the message changed to, “Welcome Home.” Wait, I thought to myself. Welcome home? You mean to tell me that I’ve finally gone home, but haven’t even moved to go anywhere? How can this be?
It took awhile to figure out, but the answer eventually dawned on me. I was the “home” I was looking for all along. It wasn’t a familiar landscape or a city full of memories. It wasn’t a compilation of walls and windows and bricks. It wasn’t a location with an address or a possession I could rent out or give away. It was me all along. The real me.
So many people wander this Earth looking for the perfect place to call home; some die before ever finding it. They search for a place to settle down, establish roots, and build something special. They desire to have a small corner of this world that is truly theirs, something no one can defile or steal away from them. We hope for a place we can go to feel safe from the harsh world.
A place where we don’t have to hide or pretend.
A place to feel accepted, loved, and free from the judgments of others.
When God asked me to go home, he was urging me to return to the only home that truly matters: my own heart.
I have spent a lot of time alone over the last two years, which might have been a frightening situation for many people. Often times, people don’t like themselves. They don’t enjoy what they look like, how they behave, how they speak, or the way they think. They do not like the way that other people treat them or how they are perceived. People may then try their best to distract themselves from these feelings by avoiding prolonged amounts of time all alone, but this was never an option for me.
Facing myself was mandatory because, aside from God, that’s all I had. If I didn’t like the person I was with, I’d simply have to change her. So, that’s exactly what I’ve spent the past two years doing.
At this stage in my life, I am perfectly at home within myself. I don’t care about my supposed flaws and shortcomings the way I once did. While I love self-improvement and will never stop improving myself, the one thing I have stopped doing is caring about what other people think about those flaws and shortcomings.
The World Is Your Home
These days, I know who I am, what I’m about, what I stand for and what I don’t. My heart is honest and my motives are pure, so I think I’ve earned the right to love myself despite whatever someone else may think or say about the way I talk, how much I weigh, what color I dye my hair, or whatever petty, shallow things folks like to judge people for these days.
I am no longer taking any form of responsibility for how someone chooses to warp the true essence of who I am and what I’m about. And you shouldn’t either.
Growing up, I’d try every trick and tactic to speak in a manner that would please this group or dress in a manner that would appease that group. Being an eclectic person with a diverse interest in various styles, I never truly changed who I was to be accepted; I simply channeled my inner chameleon and chose when and where to express certain traits or interests. However, I never felt free to express the entirety of who I was all the time and without guidelines. Sure, all people knew some of me, but only some people knew all of me.
My entire life has been spent trying to figure out why I don’t quite fit in anywhere. If you can relate to this at all, I’d like to tell you the same thing I’ve had to finally tell myself. If you’re looking around at the world you live in and you feel as though you don’t fit in somewhere, never shrink to fit.
As long as you have a good heart and you want the best for other people, do not worry about not looking like, sounding like, or thinking like anyone else.
People who don’t “fit in” somewhere aren’t meant to. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still participate in that sphere of the world, it just means that you’re going to glow a little more and stand out a little better next to everyone else. Never, ever diminish the fullness of who you are in the hopes of making some outside environment feel more like home.
We all need to feel at home within ourselves before we can ever hope to find true peace within an outside social group or setting. Once you do that, there will be no place on this Earth where you feel unwelcome because you will stand tall in your truth with the authority that comes from truly knowing that no one else is any more deserving or worthy than you.
So, while 2019 was not a year for me to erect walls or lay down roof tiles, I’ve built a foundation that will never crumble again. I may not be able to fully move into my new life just yet, but I’m home nonetheless. I hope that you are too, but if you aren’t, may 2020 be the year that you finally return home as well.
© C.M. 2019 All Rights Reserved
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