The first house I bought was built in the 1950’s. It was very old-fashioned, with ugly bright green trim, polished brass hardware and a rounded kitchen nook. I loved everything about that house. It was the symbol of my independence, and it still is.
When I bought the house, I didn’t want to change anything about it, even the things that needed to be changed. The only thing I did was replace the doorbell, which didn’t work anymore.
I still have that old doorbell somewhere.
One time shortly after I moved in, someone from work gave me a ride home. When she saw the house she said, “So this is it.”
“This is it,” I said. “It needs some work, of course. I’ll have to paint over that trim.”
I didn’t tell her that I secretly liked it just the way it was.
As it turned out, though, I regretted not telling her that, because she beat me to it.
“I like it how it is,” she said. “It’s cute. It’s old-fashioned. It’s perfect.”
A few years later, when I finally did repaint the trim, I used the original shade of green. It is still an ugly color. And it is still perfect.
It takes a long time to learn not be embarrassed about being weird, and it is much harder than anyone makes it out to be.
I learned something from that girl’s little comment, and for the next year, I worked on being whoever I wanted to be.
I would never become materialistic, I decided. I would live as an artist for the rest of my life, probably unmarried (at least until the age of forty). I would decorate my house in bright orange and other bright colors. I would take lots of walks and eventually be successful but never famous, and even if I was famous, I’d never wear expensive clothes—I would wear crazy things from thrift stores instead. Or I’d dress very plainly, to show that I wasn’t trying to be different.
If I did decide to marry, I would only marry someone who was very deep, someone, I told myself, who would understand why even though he was a man, I called him beautiful.
I discovered things about myself, too. I discovered that I was strong—stronger than I ever realized before. I discovered that a little loneliness was actually necessary for me to be really happy, and that in some ways, being alone was better than being in a relationship—more romantic.
Then, a year later, Jake proposed.
I said yes.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.