The Emotional Highs and Lows of a Van Build
I realize I just posted yesterday, and probably could have taken the day off, but these thoughts just didn’t want to wait.
Slowly but surely, the pieces are coming together. But it can be incredibly frustrating. There have been a few times in the last couple of days that I’ve been so frustrated I was on the verge of tears.
The weather’s getting warmer, which is nice in some respects, but it also means that I’m not just dirty anymore; I’m dirty and sweaty, which really just feels like a half-inch of sawdust slime covering my skin. If I keep all the doors open, I get a bit of a breeze, but then the wasps start trying to make themselves at home in the parts of the walls that are still hollow. So I’m hot, and dirty, and constantly chasing away the wasps.
With that as my baseline, when I’ve been at it for six hours and have been working on a single uncooperative wire for twenty minutes with the niggling thought that I’m probably doing it wrong anyway, my frustration starts to get really emotional. I’m not used to this kind of work to begin with, and I’m starting to realize just how big this project is, and how much expertise is required to really make it beautiful. I’ve got this general sense of being totally overwhelmed sitting in the back of my mind, and these moments when I’m so uncomfortable and can’t seem to get something to work right just hit me really hard.
Then there are moments when I just lay down on the floor and look around and feel like this van is already my home, and anything I do from here on out is just a bonus.
There are moments when something I ordered arrives and I get to open it up, a present to myself, and just feel so proud, so optimistic. I think those things could look like anything and I would be happy with them, because I did the research, I made the decision, and I paid for them. Then they emerge from the cardboard and the styrofoam and suddenly something that was just an image on my computer is something I can hold, and I think I’m powerless to do anything but love it.
There are moments when I’ve been fighting with a wire for half an hour and it finally does what I wanted it to do, and I think my circuit is complete and I start to feel like maybe I can do this. And I know that I might be wrong, but that’s ok, because right or wrong I made this circuit, and I can be proud of that.
It’s an emotional roller coaster. Just today, I wondered several times why I was stupid enough to get myself into this mess, and thought about hiring someone to finish it. But those good moments are so worth it. When I’m finished, it may not be the pristine, beautiful vision I’ve been dreaming about, but I will be in every nail, every screw, every piece of wood. I’ll be able to say I can wire a circuit, know the difference between insulation options, and have mastered the art of the powertool. I’ll have a whole new set of skills, and a home that is as much a part of me as I am a part of it.