13 March 2010

This Is Not My Beautiful House

With all the shite swirling around me, it seems David Byrne is soundtracking my life. Damnit.

The iGumbopod came to life again, as I was dropping Wee Lass off at the house, after her weekend visitation with me. It was just after sundown, with a little bit of sunglow left in a sky that was looking like an old bruise. I stepped out of the car, looked across the parking lot at the place I used to live...and it hit full force: That is not my beautiful house...Cue Once In A Lifetime again!

The ground shifted suddenly, I drew in a sharp breath and watched everything waver like I was looking up through a swimming pool. The dizziness caught me off guard and I think I may have reached out a hand to steady myself against the car. It was trippy and unsettling. A shake of the head and another deep breath brought me back to earth. I went around and opened the door for my daughter, who was bubbling with eagerness to see mom and thankfully, had no idea what had just happened to me.

Walking with her to the door, I felt like a stranger, an alien, die Ausländer...in a place that I used to know so very well. It had been my home for thirteen (how's that for a coincidence?) years. It had been a place that I had left and returned to every day for all that time. Now, it looked like something new, or something that I had been away from years longer than the ten months it had been.

Drop off went well, the lass was cheerful, and I had the glow of a weekend well spent with the apple o' my eye. The drive home was not so good. Turn the key, start the engine then sob over the steering wheel. As I pulled out onto the highway I was overwhelmed by waves of dislocation and rootlessness. By rootlessness I mean as if I once had roots, deep roots, but then they were ripped away and I was cast into a swift river. The banks I once knew receded into the mist behind me and I just floated away...

The echoes rang in my ear when I pulled in to park on the lot next to the building that has my apartment. Open the door, out of the car, that same weird dislocation. The walk to my door seemed to drag out, much longer than it should have taken. I slide the key into the lock, turned the lever that still feels strange in my hand, and walked into the collection of rooms that has sheltered me since I moved out last year.

Sheltered me. For this I am grateful. I would have to be an utter dunderhead to not appreciate a warm, dry place to eat, sleep and hang my clothes. Yet I was still possessed of that alien feeling, a nomad outside the city walls, and it was driven home by this singular thought:

This, too, is not my beautiful house, and it will never be...


  1. awwww man. that is HUGE....i really feel your ache! Being on the road for 6 weeks, as I just completed, as well as moving every couple of years as a child, I definitely know the power and pull of "home," and how transient in the world you can feel when your roots are clipped, (or ripped). Hang on....roots regrow, you will re-establish your grasp if you allow yourself to, and wee lass will always be your anchor to the world...don't camp through your life...you need more than shelter, you need to find your place.

  2. Are you familiar with Elizabeth Bishop's poem, "In the Waiting Room"? It, too, describes (for me) this certain type of losing oneself, beneath waves, sanity, self, into some other weird limbo reality.

    Strangely, it hits me most often while I'm doing the most mundane things: standing at my kitchen sink, tying a shoe, flossing my teeth. It is thankfully random and uncommon. Suddenly I am there and then I'm not there. It is as if I'm dead already and looking down at my former self, a shell with arms and legs and moving fingers. Bizarre, unmoored, untethered from reality.

    I feel my self tilting, slipping, floating away until something snaps me back.

  3. It can never be my beautiful house, no matter how many I've had, and amidst the sadness, there is comfort in the thought of impermanence: since I can't take it with me, it doesn't need to be mine, so my responsibility ends at my joy.

    I raise my glass this evening, hoping that today the sun shines out your back door.

  4. Hi I understand it can get really tough sometimes. I too live away from home at the moment and wish it was not so desperately, at times.
    I too am thankful of having a roof over my head even though we do tend to take these things for granted sometimes.

  5. A beautiful, raw post. There are other songs that tell other stories. *Cyber hug*

  6. But, someday, there will be a house that is your home, to which you will welcome Wee Lass.

    And we'll be there with you when you find it.

  7. That house was once your home. The shift of realization that is no longer the safe harbor you once knew is devestating.

    But even though the new house where you hang your hat isn't all that you want it to be, you will eventually again find the home you need. Until then, breathe through everyday and make new memories with the Wee Lass.

    Children are the balm for the soul.

  8. You have described perfectly the feelings of isolation after divorce.
    You may be floating, flying, spinning away, but the Wee Lass is your tether, your grounding.

  9. I remember those nomad years. You'll have to make yourself a lot of different safe havens until you get a more permament residence. One day you'll be in a place for a few years, and realize that your nomad years are over...
    hang in there.

  10. Irish, how long had it not been your beautiful house before you moved out?

    You'll take root again. Trust me.


  11. What Annotated Margins and Jan/jpooh said.

    They're right...and all deep 'n stuff.

    Time heals and changes perspective. I promise.

    That said, this was an honest, beautifully written post.
    Thank you for sharing.


  12. You've still got beer in the fridge, right?

  13. I have very simliar thoughts to these occurring within my own personal life right now Irish.
    Bricks and mortar can so easily tear at the soul.

  14. Gumby...think of it this way. To Wee Lass, she now has two homes. This is a win/win for her... because she is loved in BOTH places.

    Your home is where YOU are silly boy.

    love ya~
    Sweet Cheeks

  15. After the suppressed hurricane of emotions we guard so dearly (until we can better deal) comes a moment of awakening, of clarity -- that moment when we unknowingly let our guard down and finally grasp what happened lo those ten months ago. I think that's our mind's way of self-protection. You can handle the reality better now than you would have back then. And you'll get past it. And Wee Lass will always be there for you, as you are there for her. THAT is where your home is.

    And so life goes on.


  16. Hey ... you know ... it's nearly spring. Time to replant those roots, get them good and locked in. Hey hey hey ... they are locked in, to the wee lass. Home is where the heart is right, so your home is with her ... where you hang your hat is just ... where you hang your hat.

    brightest blessings!

  17. It sounds like a lot of nostalgia and some grief over the loss of the relationship which is represented by the house. I'm sorry.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...