I’ve had a detached office for two years now.
My father bought it for me—one of those pre-fabbed tiny homes—in a blinding moment of impulsive generosity. It was perfect. I didn’t even care that it was just a wooden shell. No finished walls. No ceiling. I didn’t care. It had a door with a lock and space for my desk. We patched together an electrical source and I moved in that day. I was in heaven.
My Writer’s Paradise lasted for a year. That’s when the electrical source we patched together got spotty and I decided that paradise was not worth dying in an electrical fire. I moved my desktop into a small corner of our bedroom and kept plugging away at my contracted novel. It was painful and I was late—waaay late—in delivering it to my editor. But I managed. This spring my husband and father decided it was time to finish the walls and whatnot.
I was excited. Progress. Movement.
I would have the writer cave back in no time... Spring melted into summer. Summer faded into fall . I am still stuffed into a corner of my bedroom, struggling to put words together coherently. My husband works 60-70 hours a week and my father is 68. I couldn’t pressure them to work on it. I just couldn’t. But I needed it. I asked my father when my office would be ready. He told me in another year or so. Be patient.
At first, I decided I was going to give up writing. It was too much of a hassle. Too much of a drain on my time and energy. It took time away from my kids. My husband. It wasn’t even a career, really. It was a glorified hobby. I didn’t really need it. I didn’t really deserve it either.
I cried. A lot. Then I got angry. Then I went to Home Depot.
I bought 7 sheets of drywall and a box of screws. I was going to show them. I didn’t need them—my husband and my father—to do anything for me. I’d never hung a sheet of drywall in my life but I was angry enough to try. Sinking in that first screw was terrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. But I was doing it. Something that was totally and completely selfish. No one else would benefit from this but me. Me. As the process unfolded, I had time to think. Me was a concept I’d forgotten about. Being kind to myself. Making myself happy. Putting myself first. Making my wants and needs a priority. I’d gotten used to relying on others to do that for me. I
’d forgotten that I was important. That inside the wife and mother there was an individual who wanted things that didn’t mesh with the collective.
And that was my fault. As women we have a tendency to put ourselves last. No one tells us to do it. It’s instinct. It’s what we do and we feel guilty for doing otherwise. I had to teach myself it’s okay to be selfish every once in a while. It’s okay to make myself a priority.
It’s okay to be Me instead of Us.
My anger faded and I started to feel good. I taped and I textured. I primed and I painted. I ordered flooring and watched Youtube videos on how to install it. By the time you read this, I’ll be inside my Writer’s Paradise. One I built for myself. And it feels good.