Moving Away from The White (or Growing Up)

I’ve always liked, in fact had to have, clean white bed sheets;I loved seeing the vast expanse of pure whiteness as they hung outside, shimmering in the breeze; the smell of freshly washed and line-dried sheets is amazing; as I remade beds, seeing the fresh, clear surface spread across the mattress, then pulled, tucked and molded, with appropriate pillows and quilts replaced, gave me a sense of satisfaction.
It was definitely linked to self worth, my identity; white seemed to me to be faultless, unblemished, immaculate, which is how I wanted to keep my house, and then perhaps our life would be like that too; no heartache, stress etc. It had to do with control; or that I felt a lack of it and needed to somehow gain some control by washing, cleaning, folding those beds into shape; if my family’s beds had sharp, white sheets then I was also a good mother/wife (mad, I know! Read on!).
Lately, though, I’ve been craving linen bed sheets; linen, the material (not the general term used for bedding); bed sheets of soft flowing material- the way it gently falls across the bed, and the body; in a relaxed, unformed kind of way; fibres round and worn- it has to be linen.
And they have to be in muted tones of grey-purple, even a flax, browns (although tone, I’ve realised, is more important than the actual colour) would be beautifully restful to sleep in; pillow cases in the same colour to match (I haven’t let go of the ‘formaty’ thing, completely, yet!). But the quilt cover can be lots of different colours; I like patterns of swirls, curves, curls- softness again, with no sharp or sudden-edges within these patterns, in strong deep colours, like deep rich purples and reds, greens and blues- colours you could eat, YUM!
Recently I’ve been wondering why this change- it hasn’t been a sudden change, it’s been very gradual- I started to look at other areas of my life and realised it’s happening in other areas of my life too-the music I like listening to is not necessarily quieter but it’s better music, music you can hear, it has history, a richness- like jazz or Parisian cafe music, something that’s interesting. My ear drums have already been bent enough by loud bands and night club music.
Earlier nights- I like going out, for dinner, or see a band, but I like being home at a reasonable time- no more late nights full of noise, smoke and too much alcohol- I like to be home in my bed at a time which is not past the time that I’m able to get a good sleep from (once it gets past a certain time, I find it hard to get into a deep satisfying sleep- and the next day is wasted trying to cope) Perhaps I’m trying to catch up on sleep I lost as an ‘out all night’ teenager.
Going to the gym has been a recent thing for me- a way of trying to deal with a bad back is to build up weaker muscles, but part of the program is running on the treadmill, running flat out for thirty minutes- I find this too hard mentally and physically to keep up, in fact it stops me going to the gym at all- with the loud music thumping away, oh I just want a quiet corner and a cuppa tea!
So I have started their Yoga and Pilates classes. They are much quieter and a more gentle, highly effective way to build weak muscles, but at a less sweaty pace. The music is more pleasant too. So I focus on less cardio (= less sweat) and more about fluidity, flexibility and strength , which makes me happier mentally so physical security follows.
I have a few theories on why these changes have been happening, or rather a deeper understanding of why- I know I’m getting older; maturing, like good cheese maybe (gets better as it gets older), or perhaps the words ‘growing up’ are more appropriate.
Perhaps the ‘soft muted colours’ of the bed sheets symbolises my need to withdraw from the world; I seek peace more often, staying at home with a book or writing- I don’t feel the need, and no longer enjoy, the running around flat out, filling every minute of the day, as I wanted to (when I was a teenager, filling the day with ‘stuff’) or I had to (later, with children)- in fact I am astounded that some people live by the ‘how busy you are’ equals ‘how valuable you are as a person’ thing (if they aren’t busy they don’t feel complete somehow, they are so proud of the fact they have ‘no time’, when in fact they have the same amount of time, they just choose to fill it up, often unnecessarily, to overflowing).
I crave peace, stillness, contentment.
Though I’ve always found my own way, as I grow older (‘grow up’) I look more inward, turning away from the world of busyness; I become even more comfortable in my own skin, I feel even less like keeping up with things, (ie; being busy socially, the importance of stylish clothes, the right hair do, etc). – clothes become less ‘look at me’ and more ‘I know who I am’- stylish or not, socially acceptable or not, not copying our friends or trends like we used to.
All of this ‘keep up with things’ is all too exhausting anyway- there are loads of other more meaningful things I’d rather be exploring, which take way less energy- good literature, art, smart movies, well played music, deep conversations.
I’m lucky, I have the time; I’ve drawn to myself the life I want to be living, I’m grateful and blessed. I’ve always grown my own skin, it’s always been my own, lately I’ve been feeling much more satisfied and settled into it; with un white soft linen sheets to climb into at night, at a decent time, and a well written book; heaven!


About juliehyndman

Writing, poetry, art and life in general
This entry was posted in General Blogs, Turning 50 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Moving Away from The White (or Growing Up)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh…how lovely, God i love reading your words and the meanings that they come from…funny, I’m in love with White…I wonder if it’s because I grew up with Coloured everything?

  2. Thank you so much “Annonymous’!!

  3. Di says:

    Love your post Julie… I too had white sheets for many years…. I think it was a reflection of my nursing days all associated with cleaniness and tidyness…the energy I wasted over the years.
    Your words made me realise in many ways I am slowing down (and I am much your senior i years) and it is OK… Thank you..cheers Di

  4. Deborah Glover says:

    Relate to your need for a more “muted” world as you progress into a new dimension of yourself Julie. I identify – almost a gentle and relaxed knowing – the contentment of at last coming home to self ….. No better place to be …..

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