Hometown home office...

So, I bought my first home recently. Not “first” as in, first ever—first as in, the first time I, myself, have ever bought a home all on my own. It was genuinely daunting; when you’re SO used to having someone to run through ideas with—grapple over colors, and light fixtures and counter tops with—doing it on your own feels a lot like drowning in a sea of swatches and brushed nickel. You know that it’s going to be your home (hopefully for many, many years), and you know it’s important that you love it. But when there are 2,700 options in your face, you start to think “what have I gotten myself into?”

I’m lucky to say that I LOVE everything I’ve chosen for my new home, but my move did not go well. I had hoped to be completely moved in and organized by the time I picked my kids up from their grandparents’ house. Of course, as they say, you make a plan and God laughs. The furniture delivery people didn’t come, the cable guy didn’t come, I couldn’t find anything, the movers were literally the WORST ever. My walls got dinged, my possessions were broken, they put boxes anywhere haphazardly. Needless to say, by the time I flew up to NJ to get my kids, all I’d managed to do was get my living room together. So here I am a month later, and not too much has been accomplished (aside from finally getting all the clothes put away). This week, I’m buckling down to get started on the first of many home projects, and its going to keep me busy, for sure! 

I’ve never had an office of my own before. Knowing how much I love to write, and how I find myself all over the house with my phone/headphones/computer, having a designated space that is completely and totally mine has me euphoric. My initial plan was simple: “Girl” it UP! I bought a white studded chaise lounge, I got a pink artsy area rug to go under my little desk, and a pink fuzzy chair with gold legs, to boot! However, my big, tall walls are more barren than the Sahara. At first I thought I’d go with some more feminine decor, probably some rose gold frames or flowery prints. Then, one day about a month ago, I saw a poster advertised by the Foo Fighters; it was the lyrics to Everlong (my favorite song), and the lightbulb clicked on! I will cover my walls in framed song lyrics!

Since then, my plan has evolved. When I started to think about what lyrics to frame, of course there were your standard “famous” phrases. “You may say I’m a dreamer…” “You can’t always get what you want…” “Let it be..” They’re wonderful, and poignant and beautiful (hence why they’re so iconic), but I wanted something deeply personal. This is going to be my space after all, and I wanted it to be “me.” This is where my inner dork (i.e., who I am in general) emerged—I decided I was going to tell my life story on my wall using song lyrics. Not just the lyrics themselves, but lyrics from songs that remind me of people, places, and important moments in my life (My dad = The Doors! My brother = Nirvana! The song my best, best friend and I would dance to in my living room: Oh, What a Night!).

As fate would have it, in my research, I found a centerpiece more perfect than I could have ever imagined. Bruce Springsteen is, by far and away, my favorite artist in life (I am a Jersey girl, it’s practically a rule). Always has been, always will be. What I never knew before, was that The Boss himself was playing a concert at the Meadowlands the day I was born (which is a whole five miles away from the hospital where I was born). While it’s a silly little twist of fate that I ended up such a fan, finding this poster was kismet. Where it all began, literally. My life seems weird like that, doesn’t it?

So as I collect the lyrics of my life, I also collect my memories. Things I’d long forgotten, things I hoped to forget, and things that remind me what a badass I really am, to my core. Yes, that’s right. I am now, a self-described bad ass. A girl who survived a parent struggling with addiction. A young teen who fought her way out of the grips of an overly aggressive boy. A young woman who got through college while her home life was in shambles. A young woman who managed a career while helping her mother to get her father in and out of rehabs; who survived his death and cleaning up the mess he left behind. A young mom who waded her way out of postpartum depression and anxiety. Who loved, supported and braved her way though her husband’s brain cancer diagnosis less than two weeks after her second child was born; and who strapped on gloves and cleaned her mother’s drains after her mastectomy because of breast cancer the next year. Who waddled into Sloan Kettering every day to bring her husband to radiation while eight months pregnant with her third baby. Who managed a home and three babies while he was sick half of every month. Who took every possible setback with as much stride as possible, and when the coast was clear, packed up her kids and moved where we thought our future could be brighter. Who somehow lived when she didn’t want to. Who smiled her way though his funeral. Who took her kids to Disney world, the shore, to fairs and the boardwalk; who figured out life for them as best she could on her own. Who decided to give them the fresh start she knew her love would want for her and their children. So fuck yeah…I might look unassuming, but even I have come to realize I shouldn’t be underestimated. And every time I forget that, I’ll walk into my office…and the words on the wall will remind me. The tunes in my ears will remind me. The music in my soul will remind me. As my man Bruce sings in one of my favorites, “God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of.”

Megan Courtney