This DIY project has turned into a really self reflective experience. I wasn't expecting to want to share it with you, but here it goes...
Painting my front entryway started with dirty yellow walls, damaged plaster and a dream. A little bit about me: I LOVE painting walls. It's calming, gratifying and just a totally zen activity for me. I grew up watching episodes of "This Old House" with my Dad and I truly loved them as much as he did. Of course it wasn't until AFTER I started to paint that I realized the extent of the damage to the walls and the stairs. It's amazing how painting walls from yellow to white can bring out the truth.
(Lesson number one: It's difficult to know what will go right or wrong until you actually jump in and start.)
That week my dad came over and helped me repair an area that was buckling from past water damage. For a moment I thought to myself... mmm I probably should have done this BEFORE I painted. Then he pointed out about 15 other places I could mend with putty, so I spent the rest of that day filling cracks, letting that dry, then smoothing them out with a damp sponge to make it look even. That was really fun for me too, again very gratifying watching the hallway transform. The next day I bought some semi gloss white for the trim and got to work. LOVED that too. Now that the trim was looking so good the whole area felt completely different. So new, sunny and open.
Now it was time to check out the stairs. It wasn't until I started priming them that I realized how much work it was going to be. By applying the primer I revealed all the holes and scuffs and gaps. LOTs of them and some very deep. At one point I thought damn... this sucks.
(Lesson number two: Taking steps with out fully knowing how it will go (gasp!) will lead you to... TAAA DAAA... the next logical steps. Very exciting.)
I had our super intendant come over to coach me a bit about the best way to fill all of the gaps and how I should approach painting the stairs they way I envisioned them. I wanted to make it as simple as possible by painting part of them white so I wouldn't have to tape the trim.
(Lesson number three: When you get stuck, outsource. There is always some one who knows more than you about that thing that you are doing who would love to help you. They MAY even congratulate you for doing an awesome job.)
He totally talked me out of doing it the simple way. He mentioned that having dark brown stairs especially in high traffic areas (kids, dogs, heels, work boots, etc) will keep me from going absolutely bonkers. He said I would go crazy wanting to clean the white areas and when they chip and scuff- which they will quickly- it would show up right away. He then told me which caulk to get and how to apply it. He also advised me to buck up and start with the trim first and to get that all done before doing the easy part. He even said- Hey good job... I'd hire you. YAY!
(Lesson number four: Invite those into your project who you know will support you. It feels good.)
So... here I am about to caulk and paint and go for it. I'm not done yet with this project and I'll post pics when I am, but I wanted to share how important these lessons have been for me. Of course painting my hallway is a lot more tangible than starting a business or changing one's diet, but it's taught me how to approach those other things that WE JUST NEED TO GET STARTED.
Before I began I was really focused on the outcome: A beautiful new hallway and gorgeous stairs that would be so breath-taking I will surely be featured on apartment therapy. The whole time I continue to reference the beauty of my goal, and it's not hard to continue to move forward.
(Final lesson (so far): For some of us having very visual or tangible reminders of the beauty of our goals is a giant help.)
Some things seem like a big deal, but you know you gotta do it, so forge ahead. Don't pay too much attention to how it gets done, you just keep moving forward and amazingly enough you'll notice it's happening! You'll make a mistake or two, but who cares? You are gettin' shit done. You are feeling good. You are moving forward.
NOW! Here is where you come in: Dig into your gut to find a project or a goal that you've been mulling over or avoiding and INVISION THE BIG BEAUTIFUL OUTCOME.
What does it (the big beautiful outcome) look like? (It will feel clean, organized and finally free of clutter, cracks and stains.)
What will it feel like? (It will feel so nice every single time I walk into our apartment. I realized that I was always annoyed when I walked through the hallway and that's like 20 times a day! I deserve to feel good in my home.)
How will you feel when you get there? (I will feel proud, sexy and accomplished. I will have done it myself with the help and support of those who think I'm capable.)
Take time to answer those questions for yourself. Get juicy. Have some alone time with them.
What visual reminders will help you? (For me it's the stairs remaining only half done- for you maybe it will be other things that make it easy to visualize what you want.) Only you know the answers. No answers are wrong or stupid. You decide how detailed to get and what the rules are. I totally believe in you and I fully adore you for being brave.