What type of home do you have? Is it cosy, minimalist, practical, clinical or is it ‘lived in’? Whatever your definition, believe or not, your home, like a close friend or family member, has a personality all of its own and it speaks volumes about you.
What does your home mean to you? Sanctuary, security, love, or is your home (or castle) just a place to rest your weary bones?
What type of home do you have? Is it cosy, minimalist, practical, clinical or is it ‘lived in’? I love that last one, ‘lived in’; is that just another way of describing ‘can’t be asked to put that stuff away’? All homes are ‘lived in’ by their very definition. Whatever your definition, believe it or not, your home, like a close friend or family member, has a personality all of its own and it speaks volumes about you.
For example, many believe that their homes smell of nothing but that’s untrue, they just become acclimatised to it because it’s their scent. It’s the same method animals use to identify their lairs. Like fingerprints; each home has a signature smell, and that smell is talking about you. Cooking, baking, cleaning agents, pet smells, as well as air fresheners with underlying cooking or pet odours; your home confesses everything about you as soon as a person walks through the front door.
So, take a second to consider, if a complete stranger did visit you first thing on a Sunday morning, what would they smell and what would they see? Would your home smell of dinner the night before? Would it smell of ‘nothing’, air freshener or your pet/s? Would it be neat and tidy? Or did you leave some of the washing up you simply couldn’t face in the sink? Would everything be put away in its place, or did you leave it out because you were too tired and opted to sort it in the morning?
And, if you were able to see your home through the eyes of that third person, what do you think you would see? Clinical, clean lines or cluttered chaos? Gleaming surfaces or sticky smudges?
‘Profilers’, as in the kind perform ‘profiling’ for government agencies, do so to identify likely perpetrators of crime, don’t just use the actions of any one person to understand what type of person they may be but they look to how they lived, the type of things they bought such as cars, clothes, food, and how often, as well as where they lived and how they lived; extravagantly or modestly? It all builds up a picture. So, if you thought our lifestyle was the main tale teller, our home, our ‘stuff’ is the biggest traitor of them all. From mansion to farmhouse, from council house to penthouse, it’s all there on display in your hallway, in your kitchen, in your bedroom, in your living room; your home just can’t keep its mouth shut about you.
So how does your home make you feel? Welcoming, warm, cosy, safe, sad, uplifted, down? Do you have a favourite room or area, chair or sofa? And if you’re thinking “well, a home is a home”, think again. As mentioned previously, our homes not only have a personality that projects us, they also have the ability to make us ‘feel’ a certain way.
Feng Shui is a word that many of us have heard about but do we really know what it means? Apparently, it’s the belief that every object in our home has some kind of energy (chi) that affects us, be that consciously or subconsciously. In theory, by changing the objects and their locations in and around our home, we’re having a direct impact on our wellbeing.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Every thing of value that is and when I say value, I’m talking about sentimental value. Keeping something in your home that was gifted to you but that you hate certainly isn’t a good start to a balanced chi nor is failing to appreciate the value of everything in your home.
Good Feng Shui practice dictates that you take time to carefully consider the objects and ‘things’ that grace your home. Look at everything objectively and ask yourself what it means to you, how does it make you feel? Basically, all objects either need to have an emotional or practical value; everything else is clutter not only of your space but of your spirit.
If you adopt this one basic rule then by association you have created a very positive space that reflects your loves, your tastes, your pleasures and in turn will make you happy, and you’ll be perpetually surrounding yourself by this happiness.
Okay, I know, much of that does sound a bit mystical and perhaps and bit loco but many people do swear by it and there is a lot to be said for the concept. We often say that people enrich our lives; if different friends bring different things then why can’t our homes?
I know I love a neat and tidy home. Like the whole Feng Shui theory, I need a sense of balance, a sense of things in their place otherwise I’m unable to function. For example, I couldn’t write this post now if this room was in a mess. For me, a tidy room is a tidy mind and thus a productive one that’s overflowing with ideas and not wheelie bins.
So what’s your home like? Spick and span or is it just one big den of clutter, how does that make you feel about yourself? For many, the initial reaction to that question would be ‘bad’, ‘guilty’ whilst for others it would mean nothing at all since a home is supposed to be a place to ‘live’, clutter is ‘part of its character’.
And there’s that word again. Interestingly, the clutter wouldn’t be part of its character; it’s actually only ever about yours. As much as I talked about the home having its own personality, it’s really just projecting yours because it would be all too easy to just blame the house for being untidy because it, like a lazy teenager, has its own personality.
It’s just reflecting yours.
So what are you; house proud or house bored?
In Ira Levin’s 1972 novel, Stepford Wives, a young mother suspects that her neighbour’s submissive and wonderfully attentive wives are in fact robots designed by their husbands to do their bidding. It turns out that they are. However, whilst the novel is pure fiction there is much about it that is actually steeped in fact.
‘Surrendered Wives’ is a movement inspired by the book, The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. Fans of the book tend to be adopters of its main premise; that is that women should surrender what is deemed as ‘inappropriate control’ of their husbands and focus more on their own happiness, this will in turn enable them to become better wives and thus retain or return romance in their relationship.
A surrendered wife respects herself and her husband. It’s out with the shrew and in with a wife who is not in the least bit controlling, nagging, mothering.
It’s believed much of the ‘controlling’ exercised by women of their husbands, their children and friends originates from their youth. A time when many basic requirements went unmet, freedom to pursue a specific career, achieve a certain grade, romance the man of their dreams, as well as failure to realise fantasies born from romantic fiction. The result is more than often a wife (or these days partner) who is lost without asserting control over her partner, her children and her home. They mother their men by setting chores, telling them what to wear and how to wear it, which friends they can visit, when, and which are a ‘bad influence’, what type of car to drive, how to drive it (even if they don’t drive). They assume a lot of the responsibility for running the home, not necessarily out of need but out of control or for fear that kids won’t get fed, bills won’t get paid and beds won’t be made. They’ll often correct, publicly contradict and sometimes even deride their man.
Doyle suggests that women learn more to trust the men that they marry (or choose to live with), show them the respect they deserve. They should abandon all preconceived ideas that things ‘will never change’ and actually start treating their man as an equal and not as a child to be controlled. Generally, most of us will marry someone of our equal with the view to setting out on the journey of life together as equals. If any partner sets down this path with the initial premise that one of the partners has made the union with someone who is ‘beneath them’ then they have doomed themselves to a life of unhappiness because the relationship will never be well balanced and therefore it will be incapable of flourishing. To redress this balance, Doyle suggests that women (who tend to be the most dominant in the domestic arena) learn to respect the man that they have chosen to live the rest of their life with. She acknowledges that this won’t be an easy practice and big changes will be required from both parties but she believes that to respect your partner is to be able to respect yourself, as they represent one of the biggest life choices you have made.
Respecting your partner means to respect his choices; clothes he wears, the friends he makes. Respect him enough to allow him to make his own decisions and thus allow him to flourish.
It’s from here that ‘surrendering’ became a movement in itself, connecting with many women around the globe who had been in their marriages for some time and who come to realise that their relationships had lost some of their shine, dulled by the stresses of life, finances as well as the responsibility of raising children.
And it was at this stage that they resolved to make a change, either go back out and seek a career or to make their homes and their relationship a career in itself, give it the time that they would give to their boss and, at least metaphorically, make their man their boss. They’d rediscover their femininity and vulnerability and not be afraid to display it to their men. One of the first rules was to always respect themselves and their bodies for their own unique beauty. Dress as if a visitor might show at the door at any moment, never be seen without at least one layer of makeup and certainly not in your dressing gown. They’d be house proud, make the home a warm and welcoming environment for their husbands and their children. They’d ‘make love’ to their men and not just ‘have sex’, and it would be a very feminine experience complete with romantic touches. She wouldn’t pimp him out to work to pay her the money to pay bills because she’d let him take care of that. In turn, she’d focus on herself, on making sure she looked the best that she could for herself and her man and in turn this would make her happy thus enabling her to be a better wife.
Now, I could go on here but I know I’ve already lost many of who think I’ve been sniffing something. The reality is that there are many variations of a surrendered wife and whilst much of this would seem perfect for the imagery of Rockwell’s 50s America, it doesn’t quite have the practical legs to survive life in 2013.
Nonetheless, there are millions of women around the world who swear by it today. I dare say that many of these women are already homemakers whose husbands ‘make’ enough money to facilitate this kind of lifestyle and it’s without a doubt one of the best ways to seek a harmonious life/love balance.
What does remain true is that marriage starts with the basic premise of two human beings who find each other and willingly choose to live their lives and make a home together, as equals. That home like their marriage will accumulate a lot of ‘things’ over time, the trick is knowing what to keep and what to throw out.
Have a happy ever after Sunday. 🙂