Making A Home / by Cara Stolen

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The first time I set foot in this house I cried. Not tears of excitement or gratitude, but heavy sobs of shame and disappointment. Everywhere I looked I saw something that repulsed me. It was a hot July day, and I was seven months pregnant— covered in sweat and crying so hard that I refused to take my sunglasses off. I was ashamed that this was the house we could afford, mad that we had to move in the first place, and disappointed that this was what the real estate market had to offer.


We had many, many fights over this house. In fact, I think we fought more over this house than we have in our entire five years of marriage, or three years of dating before that. He was all in and I was all out. It was during one of these fights that he said the three words that have been weighing on my heart ever since: ‘you’re stuck up.’


As much as it pains me to admit it, he was right. I had somehow got it into my head that the kind of house we lived in defined our worth. I had developed the mindset that if we didn’t live in the right house, wear the right clothes, and drive the right cars than we weren’t good enough. More specifically, that I wasn’t good enough. And somewhere along the journey to this jumbled-up viewpoint, I equated ‘not good enough’ with ‘unlovable.’


I know that I am not the only one who has fallen into this trap. In an internet-based world it is all too easy to fall victim to the perils of comparison. As much as I wish I could tell you that I am free from the shackles of my materialistic chains, I can’t in good conscience do that. But I can tell you that I am working on it, and that this house is a big part of my healing.


Slowly, but surely, we are turning this stinky old house into a beautiful home. As we bring my designs to life, this house is teaching me what it truly means to create a home. Home, wherever it may be, is about so much more than the house itself. While I am incredibly proud of the spaces I have created here, I am more grateful for the space I have created in my heart for what is truly important, and for the valuable lessons this house has already taught me.