tonight, as i sit here, i have four washerloads (only two dryer loads, in all fairness) of laundry to put away. my credit card is overdrawn and i have $12.52 in my bank account. i am surrounded by boxes whose contents i can't unpack because i have no storage and no furniture, and two more are on the way. there is not really any organizational system that i have in place; my (very few) surfaces are constantly cluttered, and i have a sink full of freshly made dirty dishes.
but i just made myself a beautiful dinner, a riff on this, with baby bella mushrooms substituted for porcini and fresh spinach fettucini from a package instead of la swanson's roman handmade. it has just a handful of ingredients: mushrooms, pasta, lemon, cream. (garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper go in almost everything i eat.) i ate it in a beautiful white bowl that i got from goodwill, and i dined using - for the first time since i moved in! - real silverware.
i was in my kitchen cooking, listening to random ambient songs flow one into the next into the next, dosh into tristeza into mum into the album leaf into the ever lovely emiliana torrini (who perhaps i overquote - if that's possible), eating hot green pasta from a periwinkle colander with my bare hands, before stirring it into my fiesta orange and creamy white vintage pan to pair with my discount mushrooms. eating it in its lovely bowl, drinking ice water from a stemless wine glass with a coaster - and even before that in the kitchen, stirring in the cream, fiddling with the heat on my crotchety stove that runs wicked hot.
i realized that times are hard and money is tight and life is completely out of control right now. but this complete mess, this chaos: it's my life. i am broke, but it's MY money i'm spending. (sobering thought!) all through college i was essentially bankrolled by my parents. i worked, yes, and worked hard; i usually had between two and four part time jobs. but i used them to finance great food, vast purchases, and an amazing amount of travel. i may not reach the level of financial freedom i enjoyed as an undergraduate for the next five years of my working life, which is a little bit sad.
but all that time, i was scared in the back of my head that i did in fact have expensive tastes, as my father has always said, and that once i was reduced to the mundanities of having to pay my own rent and all my own costs, i would be completely at sea. i worried that my champagne tastes would crumble under a budget that could support not beer, but maybe water with a splash of orange juice (EWWWW. does anyone else have parents who water their fruit juice? so disgusting).
but i am living a wonderful life. i am stylish and warm on a budget, and my home is going to be the exact same thing. it's funny, because everything feels SO spare and sometimes depressing, but i am already starting to see echoes of how the future will be here. my bedroom, for example, is pretty stark. and yet it is small, so it can't be cluttered, and my bed is already the most amazing haven.
when i walk in from bringing the laundry up, my gaze falls on my entryway, which has maybe four things in it at all times: my bike helmet, my keys (both on the doorknob), my beloved vintage men's cowboy boots that i got last year in san francisco (on spring break, for my 21st birthday!) and this welcome mat from target. it is a place holder until i decide what colors i want in there and get a rug to match. but that space seems vibrant and alive; it's so small that the light is right next to the molding on all the doors, and that fact kind of highlights the structural elegance my cute little apartment has.
and my kitchen.... my kitchen is wonderful. sometimes it feels like i am constantly spending all this money and i don't see where it goes. but it's everywhere! it's in the walls and bones of my home, in the fact that i have excellent sheets and an abundance of pillows, expensive soap and fancy bras and a beautiful, functional mirror/headboard. i love the shape of my radiators and, even though i hate the fact that the only natural storage i have consists of two 17x31 closets and the area under the kitchen sink, i love the funny nooks that are created by the shape of this home.
and in the kitchen.
everything i bought in the kitchen, i bought because it makes me happy. i chose pots because i liked their shape more than the other brands, and the tupperware and vintage pan were bits of wonderful luck. i grilled the flatware selection at goodwill for aesthetic promise, and since i always drink water from wineglasses anyway, i figured i'd skip the extra step and get two sets of stemless ones for everyday use. my silverware is a set i fell in love with and poached from my parents' home - three pieces of everything. (i need to expand and buy more eventually, in case i ever have a dinner party.)
there are awesome trays i bought at ikea (busig, if you're looking - the ones with the elephants) that form a backsplash in my lovely hutch, and my dish drainer was selected to be as unobtrusive and sturdy as possible. it's a warm, vibrant space that overflows with color even though it is in some ways echoingly empty, and it will only be better once i've put in my couch and a sideboard. when i eat, i don't have favorites among my servingware or cutlery, the "nice" or exciting stuff and then everyday things that are plain. my kitchen is always at its sunday best.
i want to try to make sure that that stays true for all of my home. but this particular evening, eating green pasta as finger food and listening to emiliana, i really felt clearly that this is exactly the way my life should be, and that it's going to be okay. (i'm an anxious person; sometimes it's impossible to have too many reminders.)