Starting here, working backwards

Most of this was written last year, just found the draft and lost the original date, but obviously from when I was still newly finished with my house!

I am so grateful to all the people who have published websites, you tube videos and photos of their tiny houses. I am especially grateful to those who took the time to painstakingly describe what they were doing, why and how. Some described what they had done but you couldn't see the process. I have a little bit of that and will describe things as I bring in photos and an occasional video. What I have seen so much of is a generous willingness to help each other out. I had a few meetups where members of our East Bay Tiny House Enthusiasts Meetup came to help put metal under the trailer to hold the insulation, fluff the sheep's wool insulation, build the walls, put on plywood, help with rafters, build the steps into the house. When it got too cold and possible rain, I then just had my son and our friend(s) build with me once a week for the rest of the build. I must post photos of my finished house on the meetup site and then invite people to come when I know there will not be rain. I have no place for people to take off shoes, and just today finally took the rest of the cardboard off the kitchen floor. It's AMAZING to have just a house rather than a worksite inside my house!!! I took the tools and screws out a few weeks ago. That was amazing too!!!

This blog will be a mixture of the build process and my healing journey. This is where my idea for this blog started.

My inspired blog

When I picked up this book from the library “Happiness for Beginners” by Katherine Center, I got inspired to do a blog because it’s a story about a woman who goes on a three week wilderness survival backpacking trip and I feel that I have been on a wilderness survival tiny house building trip for the past year!!

It helped me to see it in a different light.

Here’s a great excerpt from the book, actually the epilogue, and it might not make as much sense to you since you might not have read the book yet, but she is talking about life and how one might look at it. And this is a snippet of how I have come to look at my life in this intense process, in moments when I am conscious and choosing.

“Every story has to have a beginning and an end. Looking back, I could have begun it anywhere, or lingered on anything. I could have started it on the day I met Mike, for example, and ended it on the day I left him. I could have begun with the day we lost Nathan, and ended on the day we almost lost my mother. I could have lingered on sorrows. I could have painted the portrait of a crumbling marriage, or a family drowned by grief. It’s all there.

But that’s not the story I want to tell. Those aren’t the moments in my life I want to dwell on. They happened. They mattered. They left their marks. But the things we remember are what we hold on to, and what we hold on to becomes the story of our lives. We only get one story. And I am determined to make mine a good one.

After all, life will hand each one of us our fair share of despair and loss and suffering - and then some. That’s certain. But just as certain: It will also give us slices of chocolate cake, and sunny, seventy-two degree days, and breezes that rustle the trees. Good things are so easy to overlook, but that doesn’t make them any less there. A forgotten song will come on the radio. A stranger will help you change a flat. A lady walking by will love your red scarf. A mistake will turn out to be a blessing. An old friend will forgive you. A new friend will make you laugh.

And so given every moment I could choose from, I end my story here, in the elevator, with the memory that I always turn to when I need to think about happiness and remember what it feels like. It’s the image I’m most likely to reach for when I’m daydreaming. Or when I can’t sleep. I carry it with me like a love poem tucked into my bra. I don’t even have to read it anymore, I’ve looked at it so many times. But I read it anyway and let my eyes caress all the details that might otherwise disappear. It’s so hard to look back on a moment without remembering all the other moments it led to, but sometimes I try. I close my eyes and see the two of us, so breathless at the start of our life together.

Here’s what I know now that those two don’t; there’s heartbreak to come, and sadness and trouble. But no matter what, we’ll face every hard thing better together than we would apart. Every single one.

But we don’t know that in the memory. ( a lot of details that you should really read the book for, but next is some very wise thinking) Maybe wanting something can’t be the same as having it . And maybe getting what you want doesn’t make you happy.”

(and here’s my take on what I got from this book cuz the rest of that wisdom is in the details of her story but here’s mine)

Striving for something that is so much more difficult than it looks in the dreamy photos and videos, doing all the hard work and swearing a lot cuz it’s so much harder than what it seemed it would be, then seeing it come to life board by board and adding things in from my past homes that make it feel like home, and looking at how it becomes beauty from pain, is now so satisfying as I have slowed down to take care of my health, and chosen to have a different and better attitude with gratitude so I can stay alive to enjoy this monumental survival course.

It’s like getting in the shower after not cleaning at all or changing clothes in the wilderness for three weeks with a group of people who stink as badly as you do. Or carrying someone for three hours to the trailhead to meet the evacuation ambulance after they survived a fall and spent the night close to dying and feeling great proving you could find them again by remembering to take the map coordinates after learning how to read a topographical map.

Well, read the part in my blog of all the life-saving things I learned while building my house that has made me feel so much better about how I have been with this process that has caused me much stress. I am doing this backwards, in hindsight you could say, but “better late than never!!” (I will get to this I promise, and hope to get it out to those who will be brave enough to build their homes!!)

Stories that speak to me

From one of my favorite novels, “The All You Can Eat Dream Buffet” about four women who meet through their food blogs and become really good friends.

This scene though is when Ginny walks by a cafe and sees her three (old) best friends sitting there together, obviously on their way to a shopping day, and they hadn’t invited her. Ginny knew in that moment that everything had changed.

“Ginny felt her cheeks burning, and tears welled up in her eyes, the same thing that happened any time she got furiously angry. A part of her wanted to take a seat, to offer the forgiveness they would ask for now that they’d been cornered, to just not rock the boat. That good-girl part of her had been a straight-A student and the president of the PTA and never colored her ordinary dark hair even though she knew she would look better if she did. That girl screamed for Ginny to sit down.

But the day she had opened up a blog and posted her first photograph of a slice of German chocolate cake, crumbs trailing over an antique plate with a cracked glaze and flowers ringing the edge, another Ginny had been born. Now whether she or they liked it or not, there was no turning back.” Then she spoke her mind as I have done many times, and that was truly the end of their supposed friendship, though really it had ended long ago. She had grown beyond them and they could not be happy for her.

Sadly, though I am accepting it, I have lost a friend much similar to this. I had been there for her in so many ways, and except for some physical ways I asked for her support such as staying at her house when I had no home because I had chosen to move out of a place I was renting, not comfortable living there and couldn’t build my tiny house on wheels and pay for rent too. I had not been able to share many things with her about who I was, such as interest in a man, excited about something my children and I were doing because her daughter lives across the country, or where I wanted to live (she didn’t want me to move away from her, but not really because she loved me in the way I see it, but because she needed me, though she might not see it that way). So I have chosen to not be in the friendship anymore because it was often not positive for either of us if she could be so easily angered by what I said or did. It was not a mutual relationship for either of us so best to let go and find more kindred souls.

Ok, this started as a much older blog post and now needs to be posted. I will get back to helping out in the tiny house community. I hope to be helping friends to build their own on land we share!!

Thanks for reading!!


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