plural noun

  1. the innermost parts or recesses of a place or thing.
  2. the most private or secret things.

I know in the social media world, we tend to present the happy and stunning moments and leave out the frustrating penetralia. We can look at someone’s Facebook page and think nothing ever goes wrong for them. Snowy walks and smiling dogs and UF Gator orange sunsets.

We don’t want to be the ones complaining about every wrong thing, either. It’s a predicament and I think the solution is trying not to take it all too seriously, perhaps reminding ourselves that it’s not the whole story. If we want the whole story, we can invite these Facebook friends to sit across the table from us at Starbucks and spill it. Their stories and penetralia, not their coffee.

Here’s what I’d tell you if you were across from me right now. When I typed that, I looked up and made super awkward eye contact with the guy across from me. Eek.

Last night, this was the reality of my first night in my cozy new place.

I open the door to my new cabin. I see something close to the wall and I gasp because I think it’s a person. It’s just the coat I hung up the day before. I walk into the bedroom. Still empty. I sit on a couch the former tenant left that looks dirty. I open mail from my mom. The front of the card says, “Missing you at Thanksgiving.”

I slouch down and stare at the bare wooden walls. I turn on my music just to have something familiar. I check my phone. I sigh. My unpacked bags are scattered about. I don’t seem to have necessities like bowls, but I have about 25 hats. This place is adorable. In the loneliest way possible. I start to feel a lump form in my throat. Why am I sad? Why are my eyes filling rapidly with heavy tears? Seriously, how did this couch get so dirty? The snow falls quietly outside. It’s beautiful. In the loneliest way possible.

Twenty minutes later, I make myself get off the dirty couch. I cover it with a recently washed sheet covered in coffee mugs from the consignment shop. I open a can of blue paint. I lay magazines down and start coating the old bookcase. I’m covering up knicks and might be making some of the imperfections look worse but I feel better. I hope it will look nice next to a green bed. My landlord jokes that I’m going for a “girly hunting lodge” look. Eh, he’s not wrong.

I am so convinced moving is the only way to get out of this funk for me. I drive to the next town to take the dog I’m watching on a walk, let’s face it, you all know her name because I’ve overdone it on the pictures. Dakota and I walk off the confusion and loneliness. I will even admit that I tell her all about it. I love how much wilderness there is out here, I am not even worried about someone hearing.

By the time I get back to the same empty cabin, I am a new girl. I make ramen in a huge pot and sit Indian-style by the fire and use an oversized spoon to eat it messily. I pour a coffee cup full of boxed wine. I watch the fire like it is a Downton Abbey premiere. Joy is filling the room as the fire warms it. Tears form again, but this time they’re light.

Of course, my social media page just shows this:


One thought on “penetralia.

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