Friday, May 7, 2021

On the comfort of goblin life

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

What is one item that brings you great comfort?

It was submitted by:

It feels a little like fate that I got this prompt.

Hi, my name is Jenniy, and I love clutter.

No, no. That doesn't feel right.

I love stuff.

No. That's not it.


Sounds way too pretentious.

What the fuck am I then?

Comforted. I'm comforted by the things I've done in and added to my home that made it the safe space I never had as a kid. Sort of a goblin. A crow maybe. A collector of things that make me smile even if no one else gets it.

I belong to a few diy decor and crafting groups online, and inevitably people who like minimalist decor or have rooms straight off pinterest inspiration boards that don't look like anyone has ever existed in them much less *lived* there get a few thousand reactions while anyone who has filled their walls and nooks and crannies and shelves and every available spaces with the things they love get comments like "I could never look at this. This photo is stressing me out" or "I don't even want to think about dusting all that" or "how do you function??" or, of all things, "are you a hoarder?" It gets ugly. Every time. While a person whose house looks like no one is allowed to sit on the sofa invariably gets raved about without negativity without fail. and let's get it straight--there are certainly lots of things in these maximalist homes or whatever you want to call them. But they're organized. They're neat. Every space is taken just like my own home. Every little shelf and table and space on the wall is utilized. But they're NOT dirty or undusted or nasty or full of collections of garbage that a person can't part with for fear of killing the world. Every part of these homes is loved. Every item was carefully selected and put in just the right place. Every item is cared for...and yet the comments continue. Every time. There is no time and no way on the internet for a person with a maximalist aesthetic to exist without comment. Unless it's just plants and then the folks always scream giddily--almost hungrily--JUST ADD MORE. just add more until you die under the crushing weight of the vines!!

Yes, I'm bitter about it.

I spent my entire lifetime in spaces that were not safe. My childhood home was filled with horrors. Living with my mom after my parents' divorce meant being terrified of the next time my dad showed up to harass and scream and drink. Living with her meant a new stepdad within months, hearing them fuck because they had no respect for anyone else, hearing him trash my dad and be just as bad without, mostly, the physical violence. Living with my dad again meant all kinds of men being around, making me feel weird, eyeballing me, making me dance with them and touching me inappropriately. It meant living in the house I was raped in. It meant increasing depression and drug use and drinking for myself and for my dad. It eventually meant a stepmom who was jealous of me and clothes I had to wash that weren't my own and cleaning them--the adults--up after a coke binge and too much drinking because they're puked and pissed themselves. And living, again, with my mom meant resentment and smashed belongings and being an embarrassment to them...being excluded because I liked my clothes dark and my hair weird. I moved as soon as I could but those apartments weren't safe. I had landlords come in and spy on me and roommates who made going home an actual hell. I lived next to a guy who wore an ankle monitor for sexual assault in the middle of nowhere and no one to help if I needed it.

No where felt safe until I had a home of my own as humble as it is. No where. I spent all my years well into adulthood never feeling safe. my belongings were not my own if someone felt they could destroy them and hurt me somehow. And no lock was enough. So is it any wonder I've spent years making up for lost time?

I have items that are important to me that bring me comfort I *never* had before adulthood all over this house. I have stuffed toys from my childhood that were taken and burned that I replaced as an adult. 70s tupperware. Art. Records. I've painted murals on the wall and gone to great lengths to make things *just so.* Everything has a place that might not seem sensible to someone on the outside looking in, but y'all don't live here. I do. And I don't want to hear "how do you keep it dusted?" because it's not anyone else doing the dusting. A person who asks that doesn't actually care. They're just looking to be an asshole with passive aggressive questions. Ever heard of a fucking rotation schedule, nosy nancy? Because you just do a little at a fucking time every day and bam. Done. It doesn't even take all week. *Insert annoyed eyeroll here* 

More than anything I wish every single person would realize we are *all* a walking collection of coping mechanisms. Some of us are especially efficient at finding ways to still exist in a difficult world. Perhaps Nancy likes her house bare because her parents weren't great housekeepers. And that's fine. Because that's Nancy's house and I don't have to live there. I don't have to feel like I'm walking through a mausoleum going room to room. Nancy doesn't feel that way in her own home. Maybe she likes a house that feels like no one has ever sweat in it. But for fucks sake I'm begging the public at large to quit acting like a pristine bare walled home is the norm and stop making personal preferences into opportunities to shit on people for how they cope with pasts that left us broken that we had to learn how to fix any way we could.

Let people find comfort in whatever items they can.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

What TF Sarah


  1. We all find comfort in our own ways, and I would never stay in a group where that was not celebrated. I remember when I was decorating my den, a designer at the store said I couldn't put together the pieces I'd chosen (I guess I was going against some official interior designer rules). I did it anyway (it's my house) and have never regretted it.
    PS: I'm also one of those people whose house is always neat. That too gives me comfort.

  2. I’m the same way. My house it’s clean but it’s definitely lived in and I couldn’t live in it either other way.

  3. Good for you that you can finally call a house your own, safe HOME, and it's filled with comforters that bring you joy!
    Why can't the negative Nancys live and let live?

    Happy Friday!