When a couch is more than a couch.

I did something wild and crazy this week. I bought a couch. That may not seem like that big of an event to blog about, but it was cathartic for me. Let me explain. No there is too much, let me sum up. (A million points if you get that reference)

A few years ago I made the scariest decision of my life. I left my marriage. I left with a couple of suitcases and the clothes on my back. It was, far and away, the most terrifying thing I’d ever done.

While I have no doubt that our divorce was the right thing to do, and my ex is happily re-married to a woman I call my friend, it has taken me years to rebuild what I let go of. (2021 UPDATE, they are no longer married but they both remain my friends.)

When I left, I said goodbye to so much of the ‘stuff’ we had acquired in our eleven years of marriage. Furniture, dishes, DVDs, books, games… I walked away with basically nothing and no real plan on how I was supposed to survive on my own. It was a pretty dark time.

I moved into the basement of a dear friend for a few months while I got my head back on (she was a saint for putting up with me and my kids during all this.)  After about six months, my ex moved out of our house and I moved back in. I had to restock everything, save for the few things he didn’t want: a couch, a wobbly kitchen table, some paintings, etc.

Money was extremely tight but there were basic things I needed, like plates to eat off, towels to dry off with…Things I didn’t have now that I wasn’t living at my friends. I bought the cleanest looking dishes I could find from Goodwill, found furniture pieces from friends or yard sales, and slowly, as money allowed, rebuilt the smaller stuff like plants, books, movies, curtains, a hair dryer…

The couch he’d left behind for me, however, remained my nemesis. While I was grateful to have a place to sit, it remained a constant reminder of those rough years…the years of dire financial and emotional struggle. The couch represented everything about that time: it was ugly, uncomfortable and falling apart. That couch was me. And I hated it.

For the first time in years, my tax return wasn’t earmarked for a major car repair. I had no doubt what I was doing with those funds: I was getting that new couch. With my head held high, I went out and bought the softest couch I could afford and I got it new. That was important. I didn’t want to buy this second hand. This one thing had to be new. I had to be proud of it, because it was a symbolic statement of my life at present; the new and improved version of myself.

It may just be a couch to you, but to me, it means I’m moving forward. That I’m succeeding, even on my own, and that’s something to take comfort in.

Danielle Bannister, author and new couch owner.


12 thoughts on “When a couch is more than a couch.”

  1. Good for you! I must say, that couch looks so very comfy! I love it! I also understand, having lived through a quite similar situation. I loved my own couch, it came with me to my new marriage (25 yrs. ago) & I just have hauled it to the dump 2 months ago! It was 30 yrs. old! Hang in there, better times will come along! 🙂

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