I lost my job on Friday.
It was kind of unexpected. I went home, sat on the couch, and threw our sherpa over my head. It comforted me. I was not surprised that it did. Comfort and blankets have been synonymous in my life for quite some time. From “my blanket” with silk edges that I had as an infant stayed in my bed with me until I moved to college, to the covers I pulled over my head to keep monsters from finding me, to the warm, dark cocoons I’d create with a flashlight and textbooks during finals week in December – blankets are my personally prescribed Xanax.
One of my clearest childhood memories is directly tied to this phenomenon.
I was eight-ish, in second grade, and (at best) an awkward tomboy. Fractions were super tough, I just got braces, and I was obsessed with Wishbone. One day out of clean sheets and the bunk bed I shared with my sister – I constructed the penultimate childhood blanket fort. It came complete with a super secret door, bad guy (brother) traps, and two over-sized stuffed Simbas for cuddly comfort.
There was such a sense of ownership, of self reliance, upon completion that magic happened. It truly became My Fort. I felt safe inside the walls of my mom’s clean sheets. I felt like the whole house could burn down around me and I would never know. Even though anything could penetrate the barrier (right down to sunshine from the windows) and even though it could (and frequently did) collapse at a flinch – I felt supremely secure in that space.
No problems existed in My Fort beyond trying to suspend various blankets at impossible angles by only tucking corners into cracks and crevices. In My Fort I wasn’t the only one of my friends to have head gear. In My Fort I wasn’t bad at sports or an over-compensating middle child. In My Fort I was Queen of EVERYTHING. I even had a box of contraband football shaped Cheez-Its that I definitely was not supposed to eat in bed. It didn’t matter though, because I would not get caught. That was part of the magic of My Fort.
My Fort made me invincible.
In My Fort I was comfortable with me, I was content with what I had, and I was proud of what I had done. I was happy.
That is a feeling I strive to maintain.
I know it seems odd, that I benchmark my life’s “success” off of a childhood accomplishment, but I do.
Life is so big, and strange, and adults kind of suck at it. We make everything so complex as we grow older. The ‘should’ and ‘should not’ scenarios in our day to day get overwhelming. We feel obligated to give pieces of ourselves to everyone who asks for one until we are spread too thin. We buy, barter, and compete away our happiness. We let worry, anxiety, and comparison steal our joy. We forget how awesome blanket forts are.
My job and I broke up, and to tell you the truth, I was more upset when I took down my blanket fort. There certainly are things that I will miss about ex-job (that’s a term, right?) but I know that I gave my 100% to what was important there and that was all I could do.
So on to the next chapter.
Now – bring me a blanket.