I got home the day before yesterday and spent the night in the penthouse because Shareef and his partner were staying in The Tiny. It’s funny how much I loved that penthouse, how it felt so deeply like me. It was me, I created that space, I chose every single thing in it, yet now it reflects a completely different Vivienne.
That Vivienne was a good person but she tried really hard to fit in. She tried to be neutral and liked and I that was reflected in the decor of the space. It’s a blank slate, a place where one could picture their own hopes and dreams. It’s why it’s the perfect Airbnb.
These days I am leaning into myself. I really want to know who I am and what I want. I recall when my marriage with Pablo ended I had asked myself the same question.
What do I want if I am not at all concerned with pleasing someone else? What would I choose to do, be, wear, or eat if I wasn’t concerned about proving myself worthy?”
My darling Màrion posted this quote and it hit me hard. I’ve bought into the believe that I must set the world on fire to be worthy of respect and admiration. That other people’s admiration was my raison d’être.
I’m not sure I fully discovered it, in part because I became a mother and completely other-centered. As a writer and lover of words, I love a metaphor, and my homes are a metaphor for my internal state. Spending the night in the penthouse was like sleeping in someone else’s skin.
Before Shareef left we had coffee and chatted. I filled him in on my current events, including the plans to remodel my sweetheart’s house and convert his condo to an Airbnb. He said, “It seems like that is your M.O., isn’t it?”
Create a beautiful home, find a way to thrive.
I couldn’t help but smile and agree. Indeed it is. It is both a blessing and a curse to my partners. It’s a blessing because it is bespoke labor and a wealth of knowledge. I represent an opportunity for financial gain and an extreme upgrade in quality of life. The downside is that if you aren’t comfortable with change, if you are attached to relics of the past, life with me is a series of confrontations. I see that now, and I feel for how difficult that was for Lonny. His way of life isn’t wrong, it is just different.
After coffee I moved back into my Tiny House. That included emptying the almost overflowing composting toilet, topping off the water, and making my bed in the loft, but how I loved it. It’s so small and in many ways inconvenient, but the space speaks to me with the riot of color, the natural wood, and the pieces of me everywhere.
And I know that despite how much I love it, I will be able to say goodbye to it when it is no longer necessary. I can love a space and let it go completely and without regret.
My Sweetheart and I are dreaming hard about our home to be. I am painting a picture of space for him and watching him light up at (most) of my ideas. I’m consciously putting it all out there and engaging in debate while trying to hear him out first.
My usual way is to wait for my partner to go out of town and do it sneakily and hope for the best. I don’t want to do that anymore. One, because it does not honor his role in his own life, and two, because of the anxiety it causes me and the underlying script that I cannot get what I want by asking for it, I have to slip in.
My work in this relationship has been to speak up. Every day I try to hide things about myself, things I am worried about … shame, discomfort, needs. Each day is a challenge to be truly vulnerable and in partnership, absolute vulnerability. Each time is an opportunity to experience love and acceptance.
My Sweetheart and I experienced a huge shift in our relationship about six months ago. Without understanding it, I felt him change before me into the kind of partner I wanted, into the person I had always thought he could be, yet was frustrated that he wasn’t. The other night we were talking about where we are now and he reflected back on that time and said we shifted because I told him exactly what I wanted, how I wanted to feel, what I needed to hear. I gave him a roadmap to my heart and for a moment let go of hoping he would intuit my needs. He took that map and ran with it because it was what I wanted but also because it was what he wanted … to be together.
Nothing has been the same since. My courage was fueled by frustration, sadness, and dispair. Perhaps I felt like I had nothing to lose at that point. Now I have everything to lose and my challenge to be honest and speak up comes from that place. If I am not honest, I will lose everything. It is a 180-degree shift from my old way of thinking.
I’m learning so much in this relationship, especially this …
I think of how many times past partners have reached out to me with an emotional bid and how I brushed them off. Never again.
Anyway, that’s my relationship manifesto for the day. I intend to be this person and embody these values going forward.
Here’s some pictures from New Year’s.
We went out with friends (and tested ourselves for Covid before and after) and spent the rest of the weekend watching movies and cowering inside from the cold and snow, a blissful change from the fires that overtook Superior and Broomfield.
We were so fortunate to be spared.
Winter is finally here and I am grateful that I have a home (actually 3), kids that I am so fucking proud of and grateful for, a partner I never could have imaged existed, and this wonderful adventure that is my life.