The Post About Curtains and Courage

Moxie and the sunrise

I want this post to be out there, on this blog, and I want to be able to link to it in a year, pointing my finger, all, “See?! See?! I was totally scared and I DID IT!

Because I am. I’m so scared sometimes that I become paralyzed.

What am I scared of?

Well, when I was around 13, we moved from Fiji to Hawaii. I had a full life in Fiji – I had finally come to place in which I understood things, I had friends in school. I wasn’t cool but I wasn’t uncool – I was just a little off centre but that was okay (and you know how much all that means to 13-year-olds). We rented a nice big old house that I loved in downtown Suva, my brother and I had tremendous freedom. We had a little bread-making business that made us some spending money, we could bike or bus anywhere. The air was warm. The rotis were fresh. The coke came from bottles and Wham! was still popular.

So then we moved to Hawaii. To HiloHawaii. Where it rains almost every day and everyone hung out in the mall (-we didn’t have any money), my brother and I were completely dependent on our parents (- we didn’t have any money), the public transport system was nonexistent and we moved to a place we could afford, which was halfway out in the boondocks, away from anything or everything (and no public transport!). It was a place with low ceilings, made from cinderblock, with a thin, sad carpet. My mom bought ‘botched job’ sheets from the dry cleaner’s and ironed on that stuff that is supposed to make it all stick together, so that the sheets would be curtains.

And they were our curtains.

Thin, sad, sagging pieces of botched-ness that hung like wrung out misery upon our windows.

Those curtains are huge in my mind.

They represent everything that makes me chicken shit.

Really, they do. They are poverty, sickness, abuse, friendlessness, isolation all combined in one joyless fell swoop.

When I think, what am I scared of? – I get an immediate mental image of those curtains.

My curtains now may not be really special to most of you out there, but they are special to me.

They are bright and colourful and they make me happy when I look at them. I bought them about 7 years ago, and I bought them because I loved them and I could afford them – in that order.

When we go through this process of getting rid of everything we own – which is something I have done before – I freeze up because I can’t get the sad Hilo curtains out of my head. I’m supposed to get rid of my happy-making curtains, get rid of everything – and it’s so hard for me.

I love the material! And not just fabric, material, I love stuff! Things, belongings! And yes, I do love fabric itself – which I attach memories to the way some people do to smells.

The process of getting rid of what little we do possess might actually be more than I can do at this point. Soooooooooooo….. I’ve tried working with it, visualizing on what I want MORE THAN my curtains: I want freedom, I want our Inn, I want strong children, I want beauty and experiences, morning sunrises on Mexican beaches (even if it means nescafe and not real coffee).

Mexican +beach sunrise

Mexican +beach sunrise

 But even then – even then! – I still freeze up! I’m still scared!

So I think for me, it’s not about conquering my fear, it’s about finding some way of working through my fear, something that brings me relief.

You know what I’ve found brings me that relief? The thought of keeping my curtains. My bright, happy-making, colourful curtains.

Even if I keep them in a box in storage, I think just knowing that I have curtains that I love that are there if this whole venture blows up in our face and we have to return home, tail between our legs or something. We’ll have our curtains.

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I want to think I’m not alone in this, that we all have our areas of being or feeling chicken shit. That living with moxie doesn’t necessarily come easily to all, that some of us have to really struggle for it. That it’s one thing to have the vision (which can be hard in and of itself to find – what we truly want to do with ourselves and lives), and it’s another thing to try and let that unfold while clearing the hard ground of our minds of unpleasant memories/fear.

Can you please tell I’m not alone? k’, thanks

From where I am, I think the only way to make ginormous jumps into new ground isn’t to ignore fear; it’s to find way to feel relief and move through it.

That’s what I think.

So I’m writing this right now. I pray that I’ll be looking back at this post in a year, like, ‘yeaaaah! I finally figured that one thing out!’

– how to live with a little moxie.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a deaf artist, tech-junkie, Counselor (and sometime teacher), mom (one with Down syndrome), cat-lover, Trekkie, yurt-dwelling off-the-grid farmer's wife. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done.

5 Comments

  • You put those curtains away somewhere that your heart will remember, and then fly on girl. You are never going back to the life that had those other curtains… you are the mom now, you make the choices. Be free.

  • I think that is totally logical, we all need something to hang onto from our old lives as we move on whether it is photographs, memories or fabric. Maybe you need to reinvent your curtains just like you reinvent your mission in life as you grow. They could be so many things – a pillow, tablecloth, shower curtain or just a sun shade for th back window of the truck.

  • I was totally thinking “keep those curtains!!” You can have your Inn and your happy curtains too, just leave them with me and in a year, send me an address, I’ll ship them to you. I’m still wallowing in sleeplessness, I don’t know how you do it but I can ship curtains to you in a year!

  • I must be missing something here…why can’t you keep the curtains? Are you going somewhere without windows? I’m not being sarcastic…I’m just not getting it. More important-I feel your curtain pain. It took me years y e a r s to build up the courage to purchase curtains. I lived in a house with 27 windows and no curtains. I dreamed of them, looked through catalogs endlessly, wandered through a wide circle of stores that sold curtains, devoured home decorating magazines, etc. I did everything necessary except to actually purchase curtains. Such a commitment on so many levels. After 5 years of fruitless efforts I finally bought curtains for one room and for all the amazing mommy moments I have forgotten over the years I have not forgotten one detail of the curtain purchase-what the sales lady wore who helped me, her jewelry, the musak playing, the colors/patterns of all the curtains surrounding the ones I chose, nor have I forgotten one step that I took carrying 50 lbs. of curtains out to my car. It felt like a death march. So much money, locked in to a color scheme, and then I had to purchase all the hardware to hang them-and then find someone to install the hardware. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…but the curtains went up and it transformed everything (including a part of me). Years later I still look at my curtains with the same pride I do my children. They really do make me so happy. What they represent to me makes me happy and proud-and they seem to represent a lot of things that they probably shouldn’t. The curtains paved the way for making a couch purchase decision possible-that also took years and much labor of thought. Keep the curtains. I love love love the idea of transforming them into pillow covers, tablecloth, bedspread etc. if you can’t use them as curtains in your next life. Have coats made for the family so they can continue to keep you warm.

    • I love your curtain story!
      I can’t bring them because we will be in a tiny Alaskan camper for the indefinite future. The camper fits onto the back of a regular truckbed, to give you an idea of how small a space it is.

      But we’ll keep them in storage here, it’ll be okay.

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