That armchair had become synonymous with who I had become as a young adult. It was a vintage showcase of floral velvet upholstery, an ensemble of oranges, reds, salmons, golds and mossy greens. It was eccentric in classic form, a conversation piece, an armchair that held its own.
My mother and I found the armchair in a thrift store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It was definitely a statement piece, a solid construction of craftsmanship with strong lines and carved wooden embellishments. It sat like a cube in its club chair style; bold yet distinguished. We agreed right then and there that this was the perfect armchair for me. It matched my quirkiness and my love for vintage aesthetic, its vibrancy popping like my individuality. It was stylish and unique; it was like a piece of my character existing in tangible form. The armchair belonged with me, it was kismet.
Living in small flats with the armchair proved awkward. It was chunky and it took up a lot of room. It was under used and rarely sat upon by humans. The spring coils were almost piercing through the upholstery and pieces of the wooden frame were chipped and split. The armchair’s beauty lay with the eye of the beholder; her structure was sound and her blemishes repairable; she could be restored and made functional. The true beauty of the armchair was her uniqueness. It was in the conversations she would spark, the things she represented and the character traits I attached her to. In truth, she was a big and beautiful inconvenience.
I had that armchair for almost 20 years and never once ventured toward repairing it. This week, I carried it to the end of the driveway; positioned in a fashion, universally known as: free for the taking. I hoped that my cast away would become another person’s treasure, for I loved that vintage beast but it no longer served me. I idly hoped that the next owner saw the potential in its beauty and took the time and TLC required restoring it.
I walked past the window, on my way to bed that night, and looked out to the end of the driveway at the armchair. I whispered goodnight and I thanked it for its service. Strange, perhaps, but that armchair had been with me for most of my adult life. Clunky and tucked into corners, a constant fixture in the living rooms of my past, present for all the laughs, all the tears and all the fights. There, positioned stoically against the wall offering a seat for the cats to snuggle upon while I stretched out across the couch. There, like an art piece that became an iconic and stylized fixture of my background; from flat to flat, relationship to relationship, province to province.
The armchair sat out overnight and when I woke the next morning it was gone. I instantly wished that I had tucked a note under the cushion to wish the new owner a good life with my armchair. We were both onto new beginnings.
Out with the old, in with the new
I made the decision to let go of the chair as I was cleaning my daughters’ toy room. There sat the chair, in the corner of the room, boxes and toys and a rolled up carpet piled upon it. It had become a catchall, a place to throw everything that was in the way. It was buried beneath the junk, unable to be used and certainly under used in all these years. My iconic, stylized chair had faded into the background and disappeared under the reality of what my life had become. Motherhood and growing a future with my family trumped the aesthetic personification of my former self, life and priorities. The armchair had been swallowed up by my new life. It had become something to grumble about, something that did not physically fit into a space that was now being filled with toys and books and art supplies and the ever-growing Lego collection. It was neither practical nor functional and it never, really, ever was.
For the 10 years that I have lived in the Farmhouse I have been relocating the armchair, room to room, in an effort to find it a home within our home. A place where it’s vintage floral beauty would functionally fit and become a useful addition to the room. I never found the perfect spot for the armchair, yet I continued to hold onto it, moving around it, tucking it into corners and eventually, piling things upon it.
It dawned on me, as I was clearing off the armchair, that I was holding on so securely to an object because of the definitions I had attached to it all those years before. Holding so tightly to the past, desperate to reclaim the person I once was. Over the past decade and then some, I have spent so much time talking to therapists, going over and over the trauma and the stories and the confusion it all led me to. As a young adult I found myself through the voice of my bravado, and just as quickly lost myself to the facade. When I returned to Ontario I was deflated. I felt empty, destroyed and completely wavering in any sort of description of self. Everything that I had tried to earn love had been returned unrequited and I had abandoned myself in the process.
Setting the illusion free
I thought about all the time and energy I spent justifying the need for the armchair, the use of it as part of the decor, this velvet version of myself. I questioned the armchair’s purpose in my life which led me to question the purpose of my life in this moment. It called the truth to the surface, it asked those hard questions that required answers. How does this armchair serve you? I mean, the chair had truly been an inconvenience for the past 20 years and most especially in the last 10 years, but it might just be the very last thing about my life in Halifax that I needed to let go of.
This part of my story, the motherhood chapters, had been set in motion seven years earlier as we welcomed the birth of our eldest daughter. I had not been the person arriving home from Halifax in sometime, yet I continued to hang on, onto the armchair, onto the past, onto the person I was before I was destroyed (before I was presented with the opportunity to grow and evolve). By keeping the armchair I was holding space for a ghost, a figment, an illusion. I was no longer that person and an armchair or any other material object was never going to lead me backwards in time. It was time to move forward, time to let go, time to forgive myself and move on. But boys oh boys, that is much easier said than done!
The summer’s surrender
The timing of this surrender could not have come at a more opportune moment. This year, the Summer Solstice takes place on Saturday June 20th. Marked as the high point of the season where the sun reaches its height and shines the longest. Solstice represents a celebration of light, harvest and the benefits of the summer’s bounty. It is a time for renewal and abundance, a time for love and expansion.
It is a celebration that acknowledges our individual life force and the life force of the Earth. At Solstice we are granted an opportunity to celebrate and honour Mother Nature’s energy and the blessings that we receive on the daily. The Earth will be at her fullest –the energy of her strength, fertility and abundance will be their strongest allowing each of us the opportunity to gather with our intimate selves to identify our spiritual consciousness and to offer our gratitude, this day and moving forward.
The Summer Solstice is a perfect time to set new intentions. The act of letting go and surrendering to what is, accepting life and all that it has become. Solstice is the perfect time to examine my blessings and to determine what this means for me as an individual, a mother and a partner.
On Saturday, I will make time to be completely present with myself to reflect on my personal growth. I will take a moment to question my life’s path and remain there with an open heart. I will set intentions that not only speak through my heart but also to my future and the betterment of self. I shall take a moment to thank and honour all that life has taught me, brought me and everything that has fought me along the way. I will make room and with this I too shall grow and expand and love with the season.
As an individual who lives with depression and anxiety I have come to find that I thrive within a structure. Schedules are my friend and help to align and support my mental health. Without them I flounder and spiral into the darkness. I am surrendering myself to Solstice this year and enabling it as the calendar date to begin my journey of deeper self-discovery. My goal is to develop ritualistic habits that support my self-care and self-love; requiring me to hold space for myself. My goal is to become stronger within myself so as to minimize my external dependencies. My goal is to stop the exhaustion from trying to be everything to everyone and to relax and be better to myself so that I may also be better to those that surround me.
What will The Summer Solstice be for you? How will you celebrate the light and abundance? How will you let yourself grow and expand with love? What intentions will you set, what will you set yourself free from?
Happy Solstice, may you shine brightly!
Thank you for reading. Really, it means so much. I would love to hear what motherhood is for you. Please feel free to drop a comment below and share, share, share.
Post Script – Stay tuned for a very special message about my Summer of Self-Care Self-Challenge. The one where I put my words into motion and hold myself accountable.