I can understand why people find it so stressful to move. My inner perfectionist has been awakened by the need to have the house looking spotless for prospective buyers. We have decided to list our house ourselves for a short time to try and sell it to someone who is like minded. As a result, we hosted an open house this past weekend. Getting ready for it made me realize just how comfortable I am now with a bit of mess. Feeling the need to ‘impress’ other people gets my dander up every time. My poor children had to suffer through my demands to keep toys put away, keep their hands off the freshly painted walls, and not dig holes in the back yard (which I think was the hardest for them, since we’re experiencing an unseasonably early Spring).
I can also see how my attempts to control the state of our space has pushed my children away. The effects of attempting to micro-manage them can be seen so clearly in this time when we push up against a new (unhealthy) way of being. Actually, it’s more like returning to an old way of being, one I hadn’t realized just how glad I was to let go of! My inner landscape isn’t as calm, and neither is my children’s. The work, the chores, and the state of the house has taken priority over our relationships. This doesn’t feel good. What has been lost is our connection, which I am now having to work hard to recover. The process is difficult because my inner resources are depleted due to my own emotional processing over leaving this home. We have been working hard to ready ourselves for this transition. Now that we’re living at the edge of public and private life, I want this process to be over quickly so that we can move on with our lives in the way that is meaningful to us…to be with each other again.
Creating illusions is not what we’re about. We have had to put our values on hold for a while to meet the values of the world at large. In fact, I feel like I’m a hypocrite for creating the consumer driven illusion of perfection. This has not been an easy task, since I take my decisions and my integrity very seriously. Life doesn’t stop just so that you can sell your house, but the expectation is that it should, since a home needs to appear as though it is easy to always maintain unsustainable levels of cleanliness and order. In effect we are commodifying our lifestyle in an effort to sell this home.
The people who came through our home didn’t see us scrambling to wash the windows on Saturday morning, or compromising our integrity by throwing out the paint rollers to save time over washing them thoroughly for reuse. They also couldn’t see me feel the void of not having the volume of my children fill the space or the starkness at seeing all of their books neatly lining the shelves rather than the surface of our sofa. Homes are meant for living in. Selling a home is a prime example of how our culture thrives on the outward appearance of perfection as an attainable and desirable goal. But what this experience has made so very clear for me is that there is always an expense.