I have this habit of buying things for my home. Over the last year, I’ve bought: an antique vanity mirror (it was only $10 from One Kings Lane); a turquoise elephant statue and a sunburst mirror from Joss & Main; beautiful glass and clay coasters, a bottle opener shaped like a skeleton key, and a zinc letter “K” from Anthropologie; several vases and a Thai mango wood statue of a man playing a flute from the Foundary; and a recycled glass mannequin head from Pier 1.
This list does not include the items I’ve purchased for myself while abroad. In the Dominican Republic, I bought a carved wood tea kettle with the matching tray and tea cups from an old Haitian woman in Higuey. Last summer when I went to Italy, I bought a pink, blue, and gold baroque tray and chunks of pyrite and amethyst in San Gimignano, and a lace peacock in a pretty gilt frame from Burano. In Franschhoek, South Africa this past March, I purchased a 4-foot-long carved wooden crocodile. It took three months to arrive, but it was so worth the wait.
My lace peacock inspired me to collect prints of peacocks for a gallery wall in my bedroom. I have about eight prints now, most of which I purchased from Art.com or Etsy. I’ve got watercolors and block prints, pencil drawings and oil paintings. I plan to buy mismatched frames for them and hang them all together above my bed.
Most recently, I’ve purchased this cute copper piggy bank
and these colorful Moroccan tea glasses
from Open Sky. The tea glasses will look beautiful on my grandmother’s old-school bar cart.
Oh, and I can’t forget this set of rhinoceros bookends from Urban Outfitters:
I’ve noticed that these purchases tend to happen in spurts. I’ll go a really long time without buying anything for my house at all. Then one week, something happens and I’ll buy seven items in one day. I mentioned this to my therapist– I will call her Dubs here– and she said, “You’re nesting.”
Prior to this, I’d only heard the term “nesting” used to refer to pregnant women on cleaning and organizing frenzies in the weeks before their babies arrive. When I told Dubs this, she replied, “They’re preparing their homes for the arrival of their children. You’re preparing your home for your arrival.” She asked me why I purchase these things when I still live in my mother’s house and everything ends up in the basement. I had to think about it for a minute. But I realized: buying all these things makes the idea of moving out seem real. I can touch them and stare at them and envision them in the spaces I’ve created. This is also the reason why I’ve pinned over 500 pictures to my Interiors board on Pinterest. It functions as a vision board. I look at the things I’ve purchased, I look at my pins, and I can picture myself in that space. In my own home.
If I’m honest with myself, my compulsive decor-shopping usually occurs when I am feeling the most trapped, the most hopeless. Like I will never have a job that I love doing– that isn’t just a job, but a career. Like I will never get out of the tiny 10×10 room that I grew up in, like the walls are closing in on me. I buy a piggy bank and see myself placing it atop a stack of books on an Ikea Rast 3-drawer nightstand that I’ve hacked and painted to be an emerald green campaign chest. I see myself dropping my extra change in it when I walk into my house at night. I see the glasses glittering in the late afternoon sunlight, and I smile.
It’s real to me. Because one day I will move out, and I will have space for all of my lovely things.
p.s. My sun sign is Scorpio, but my moon sign is Libra, which explains my obsession with making my surroundings as beautiful and as comfortable as possible.