I am 31 years old. According to many, I am strong. I have my shit together compared to many that I know, and I’ve managed to make a way for myself that confuses and, perhaps, intimidates most people.
But this has been a trying summer. It started out fine if not busy. It quickly went downhill as my friend Collin’s health declined. His death was hard. I knew it would be. But it was harder than I imagined.
When people ask, I’ll tell them that, but I’m not sure they realize what it means. It means that there are days when I find myself crying a dozen times. Of course, there are days when I don’t cry at all. And there are no days when I don’t also laugh or bring a smile to someone else’s days. But there’s never a day that I forget, and I don’t think there’s been a day since his passing when I felt entirely myself.
I am not alone in this. Although, sometimes I feel more alone than I would like. I’ve also felt a little less safe than I would like to, you know, emotionally. Now, I am not one to decry that those who need safe spaces are weaker than. But it’s never something I thought I would need myself. As it turns out, it might be.
So I made myself a blanket fort. At first it was a silly idea, perhaps encouraged by the silliness of a new friend. I considered it and even joked about it my mother, who encouraged me to build a blanket fort.
To be honest, I can’t ever remember doing it as a child, so I began to plan it out (like kids do that! lol). It became a distraction as I dragged kitchen chairs into my living room. And I built a thing.
Blanket fort 1.0 wasn’t the best. I could sit in it, but it was small. I decided to renovate. Soon enough, I had a larger space I could lie in, and my cats could explore. It wasn’t entirely comfortable because I was on the floor.
After a couple hours in my newly-expanded blanket fort (and one roof caving in CATastrophe), I wondered if I could fit my air mattress in it. The fort was slightly more narrow than my mattress, but I squeezed it in there successfully.
It was starting to feel plush. And comfortable. Safe. Phantom crawled in next to my frequently. Goliath took longer to warm up to the idea. He was nearby, but he didn’t join me until after I fell asleep last night and the temperature had dropped quite a bit.
Yes, the whole thing was silly and childish. But it was more than that. It was a needed break from my routine, both my daily and mental routine. It was carefree and silly. And while I can’t say I didn’t shed a tear while in my blanket fort, I can also say that it felt good to be in.
Now, I wouldn’t want to need a security blank or a security blanket fort to get through life, and I don’t. I spent a day being silly, reading and playing games from within the comfort and confines of a malleable, semi-permanent living structure (as I coined it in a Facebook life even update). I slept there.
Then, I woke up and took down the “walls” and returned to my normal life feeling a little bit better and a lot more like myself.