Happy New Year, everyone! It’s so lovely to see you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with all of your hopes and dreams intact and goals still in sight.
Wanna know what I have in sight? A giant mess.
This Giant Mess is actually a step up. This time last year, Dad and I were rushing to install the floor in my bedroom. Dad thought it was because I wanted it done before my birthday (Jan 11)–in reality, I wanted it done before the mini-family reunion we were about to have for HIS birthday (Jan 8). We finished enough of the floor to throw a mattress down and sleep a few people. Only one bathroom worked, but we made do. There was no kitchen, and the living room and garage were packed with boxes.
Needless to say, there wasn’t much done at my house besides sleeping that weekend.
This Halloween–after the last major overhaul of the master bathroom was completed–Dad and I finally finished the floor. My house instantly went from “Partially Rebuilt Renovation” to “Disgustingly Messy Home.”
The whole problem with level of anxiety is all the suddenly wanting to put everything away. It’s a lovely compulsion, except for that I DON’T KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING GOES YET. I literally have to make it up as I go along. And then if something isn’t quite right, I have to change it midstream. Or start all over.
People tell me, “Oh, don’t worry. It took me a year to really move into my house.” Well…I’ve had this place 18 months already. My subconscious is constantly trying to remind me that I’m woefully behind. I pour another cup of chamomile tea and try to ignore it.
I had one of those moments today, actually. I found myself sitting on the trunk of memories that’s taken up residence behind my couch–mostly because I don’t have another place in mind and mostly so the couch won’t slide all over the floor. Across from the trunk is my display case–solid dark wood with leaves carved into the top and a sliding glass door. I love that thing. I got it at Costco or Sam’s half a billion years ago for dirt cheap. Somehow it survived moving from TN to DC to FL without breaking into a million pieces, and for that I will be forever grateful to the universe.
I don’t remember exactly how I had it set up six years ago, but I think I’ve just about unpacked all the pieces at this point. There are six shelves in the case (if you count the bottom of the case as a shelf–I have stuff down there, so I do).
Three of the shelves are full of Fantasy and Fairy Tales. There are faeries and gnomes and wizards and elves and dragons and unicorns. Beauty and the Beast and their Castle. The porcelain roses that were given away at my baptism. Aladdin and Lady and the Tramp. I even have a small glass award from a school I visited…and the wisteria crown I wore for all eight episodes of Pass It Along when I was eight.
One shelf is all about Greece. Some of the little statues I collected when I went there with my family as a teen, and some were given to me by other friends and family. There’s an angel holding a shell with some pretty stones inside, and my grandmother’s infamous “That Will Never Do” engagement ring. There’s a shot glass with the flag on it and a komboloi inside. I have Apollo and Daphne, Nike, and my statue of Athena is surrounded by an army of little pewter owls of all shapes and sizes.
One shelf is all about comics. When I worked as the buyer for DC, my annual gift was usually some fabulous statue from their collection, like my Wonder Woman fighting the hydra. Of course, once the rep found out I was a Sandman fan, I received two Sandmans (Sandmen?) and a Death before I moved on to greener pastures.
The bottom shelf actually *is* about Death. The dark wood bottom of the display case is the perfect backdrop for my voodoo dolls and porcelain Mardi Gras masks from New Orleans, and my little stone skull.
So there I was…staring at my display case in admiration and distraction, and it occurred to me: The entirety of that case, top to bottom, is quintessentially me.
Alethea Kontis could easily be described as 3 parts Fairy Tale, 1 part Greek, 1 part Comics, and 1 part Death. A lot of fantasy, a little bit of horror, and everything in between. Magic, Myths, and Misery.
Which led me to suggest the writing prompt for the Mermaids this month! All of us–and a few special guests–will jump into our blog posts this year by talking about something in our lives that we can describe as “quintessentially us.”
So now I’m curious. What is something in YOUR life that is quintessentially YOU?