Make A Fort If You Can’t


As much as I talk about going outside, basking in the (truly hot) sun, and enjoying the outdoors, there are days when all I can do is get out of bed and make it to the couch to curl up into a ball and pretend there is no world beyond my house. Last week I had a couple of those days, days where I didn’t open a window, roll up any blinds, turn on any lights beyond the flickering television. They happened to be stormy days, so the overcast sky helped keep the house in a cold gloom. I gave myself grief for this at the time, but there are days when that’s all you can do, and that’s fine as well.

The quote above is by Warren Ellis. He tends to close his newsletters with a little motivational message, and this is the one for this week. I found that it spoke to me directly, telling me what I needed to hear right now. I’m breaking the message into five statements and writing on how each of them spoke to me, and how I want to improve my situation as a result.

I haven’t built a pillow or blanket fort in a couple years. The last one I made was with my wife a while back, maybe a couple years ago, when we threw the couch cushions and used them to form walls, brought in blankets for the floor and roof, and a fan to help keep our roof up the air. We laid down, watched TV for hours, took a nap, and it was glorious. I really should do that more often, especially now that I can teach my daughter all about homemade forts.

I gave myself a hard time when I laid in the dark for a couple days, especially because I was already dealing with negative feelings and the gloom made it all too easy to bask in those, but honestly, looking back it was good therapy. It allowed me to rest, to not think, to not worry, to simply be. I actually felt recharged after spending time in my cold gloomy apartment-wide fort. Yes, I could’ve probably handled my emotional state of being a lot better than to wallow in it in a dark house for a couple days, but when all was said and done, I emerged in a better place.

Much like with turning the volume down on the world, sometimes you (I) just need to retreat into a private little fort to weather the days. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to hunker up behind the pillow and blanket walls of your own castle to have time for yourself before the world becomes too much to deal with. And sometimes you just gotta bust out the fort for pure fun! I know I haven’t done that in too long, and I need to fix that.

Go outside if you can, yes, but if for whatever reason you have to stay inside, you might as well build a fort where you can have some space to think, feel, or just be without the world intruding upon you. Both the outdoors and the indoor fort are good prescriptions for the soul.

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