As I was blissfully painting the bathroom the other day, I thought back to when my love for paint really started. And how it saved my life.
After a not-so-pretty divorce, I moved to the mid-south with my three kids in tow. We lived with a wonderful woman, who has asked to remain anonymous on this blog. In fact, her exact words were “You’re not going to talk about me, are you? And you damn sure better not show a picture of me.” In the interest of her privacy, and because I’m scared of her, we’ll call her Wow (that’s Mom spelled upside down). Anyway, we lived with Wow for about 8 months before finding our own place.
The little house house that I found to rent wasn’t all that special. It was drab and small, but close to my job, which I hated. We were poor, which I also hated. But we managed to get by. I fell into a nasty depression. A depression that I have never known before or since. I couldn’t find any enjoyment in life. I hadn’t made any friends. And boyfriends? That was a joke. For six months I lived in that ugly little house, just going from one day to the next. Even my wonderful children had a hard time getting me to smile.
Then one afternoon, Wow showed up with a gallon of paint. It was yellow, left over from a project she had done at her house. She basically told me that it was high time to quit wallowing in self pity and appreciate the things I had, instead of the things I didn’t have. In the divorce, all you got was the kids. So what? Is there anything more than that? And boyfriends? Who needs ‘em! You saw what trouble you had with the last man! Forget about it! And she was right. I was looking at life from all the wrong angles.
She handed me the gallon of paint and said, Now get in there and paint that kitchen yellow. You’ll be surprised at your outlook on life when you have coffee every morning in a sunny yellow kitchen. As I thought about her words, I painted the kitchen yellow and my life changed…forever.
While I painted, I felt lighter, happier and in charge of my own destiny. I could paint whatever color I liked. I didn’t have to ask anyone if they liked it. It was my house, I could do what I wanted. I was empowered.
After that, every extra dollar I had went to paint. I would go to Home Depot and buy a gallon of the oops! paint and paint a room. I eventually turned that ugly little house into a happy home for my little family. It was a sunny and cheerful place for us. My children laughed and danced…with me. We still didn’t have any money, but it didn’t matter, because we had each other. There was always something to giggle about, a game to play or a story to tell.
The three years we spent in that now colorful little house changed how I approached life. Anything that needed serious contemplating was done at the little table in the yellow kitchen. Answers were easier to find that way. Once there was color in my life, good things started to fall into place. A better job, friends and yes, that’s where I was living when I met CGMan.
Now, as I paint a room, even all these years later, I feel so happy, so lifted. As I paint, I wonder if Wow knows she saved my life that day. Because she was right, anything is possible when you have a little color in your outlook.
But then… Wow is always right.