The steps

forward, forward, back, forward

nicole.bretall

10/22/2021 2 min read

The steps forward do seem to all too often include some steps back. And it's so easy to only see the steps back. It's as if they come with peripheral vision blocks akin to the gutter rails that I all too often asked for at the bowling alley. Have I ever mentioned that I've thrown a gutter ball with the gutter rails up? Yeah, that's the kind of steps back I've been known to take. But there's (almost) always humor in the bowling ball bouncing over the gutter rail. In the moments when the room doesn't seem like it will ever smell normal again or I question how many layers of cigarette stains can really stick to a wall in 7 years - sometimes I cry - and sometimes I laugh - and sometimes I'm so grateful that this is my life. That I get to clean the walls, the floors, dream the dreams of what this place will be once the grime is gone and the life comes back in. And even though there are steps back, there are so many steps forward. I see the walls changing color, the clutter slowly but surely being exhumed. The traces of neglect, abuse, disinterest - starting to fade. The untended to corners and crevices seeing the light of day, breathing new life. Sometimes I wonder when it will ever be finished, when it will ever be ready. And I wonder when I will be ready. To take up that much space in the world and believe that I am the rightful owner of that space. That's something I'm afraid of and simultaneously so awestricken, grateful for. It seems like the dream that never really seemed possible. There's freedom in that kind of dream. the ones that seem like soaring almost, weightless. Exciting, yet comforting, somehow, at the same time. I find that I so often am fearful of my dreams. fearful to have them, think them, and ever more fearful of writing them down, committing them to paper, claiming them. I hope that I can exist just below the surface, the radar, just below notice - and someday emerge finished, perfected, polished - and no one will see the untended corners and crevices. No one will see before the clutter has cleared. But maybe that's not the point. And maybe I should take more of a chance to claim the dreams as this imperfect person who just maybe doesn't need to hide all the untended corners and can just own them. maybe as a step back, but maybe as just part of the process. and maybe, just maybe - that can be ok. and maybe with the set backs i can tear down what is and create something i didn't think was possible. so i've demoed an extra room. the room will be the outlier of the space. a space in desperate need of cleansing. and maybe, just maybe -- yes, just yes -- i will turn it into the most sacred space in the house, myself. isn't it funny how the places that are the most rejected can become the most loved? just step back and look at it, take it in, be grateful for it, connect to it.