Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Room of One's Own

While browsing my Google reader, I came across the fascinating website of photographer Rania Matar. Matar is doing a project where she photographs teenage girls from all over the world in their bedrooms. The photographs are beautiful, stunningly so. They remind me of a time in my life where I felt like I could totally exist in a single space. It was comforting, simple. In Mater's own words she says the project was interesting to her because she was "fascinated to discover a person on the cusp on becoming an adult, but desperately holding on to the child she just barely left behind. A person on the edge between two worlds, trying to come to terms with this transitional time in her life and adjust to the person she is becoming." I suppose this statement struck a chord in me because it's something I feel I try to do with my writing. Women on the verge. In my own life, I relate to that idea. Trying to grow, it takes up so much of our time and what would we have to do if we weren't trying to grow? The pictures are a bit heartbreaking to me, but in a way that feels natural (the best way to describe it).

I started thinking about all the rooms I have occupied in my life, how I have changed so much in the span of 24 years. When I was a child, I had bunk beds. I spent hours making friendship bracelets and reading and making up dances. The beds were against the wall, and at night, I would tuck a sheet into the top bunk so it would form a fourth wall. I would pretend I was inside of a covered wagon, traveling on an Oregon trail. I would listen to a cassette tape of a stranger reading fairy tales. If I was still awake when the tape ran out, I would get up and turn it to side B. Sometimes I spent nights like that, flipping back and forth between the two sides. I suppose you are never too young to feel restless.

For my 13th birthday, I re-decorated my room. I got a queen-sized bed, purple flannel sheets, and a desk. I would stay up writing novels on paper that I kept in a binder. I would use post its to make notes to myself. The novels were always very bad. I read books that were too mature for me and formed strange ideas about adults and the world that are undoubtedly still with me. I spent hours in my room listening to Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, oldies, and country music. I wrote bad poems and on the weekends made prank phone calls with friends to boys in our class. There were lines to memorize from plays I was in and there were dance classes. There was homework. It seemed like I was busy, but I spent much time fantasizing. What would my life be like when...

I moved to New York City for college. I lived in 1/2 of three different dorm rooms for three years. In that time, I had three different roommates. My roommate Lauren and I shared a literal box of a space my sophomore year. We never fought. We once lived a week on mostly grapefruits and we watched the O.C. between completing mass amounts of homework. We put up posters (Fight Club and I can't remember what else) and pictures, our only forms of decoration. I read environmental philosophy, international politics, the news, Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies, a million short stories, British Literature. We went out to a million places and never stayed in on Thursday through Saturday nights. I can remember all these bars, not the names or the locations, but how they were on the inside. Restaurants, museums, plays, my mother calling and wondering why I was eating out at 10:30. No one eats very early here, I'm sure I said something like that. I was too cold a lot, I was alone a lot, I was in my thoughts more than ever. Then, I lived in an apartment I subleted from someone else. I slept on this girl's Ikea loft bed on an air mattress inches away from the ceiling. She was studying abroad in France. I joined a gym, I read her books, I took the subway mostly because I was further from downtown. I made mistakes, I had to have wisdom teeth removed, I felt less wise, I watched friends make mistakes. I still ate fancy dinners. I saw so many movies. I read for my colloquium which was on Writing for Social Change. I applied to graduate schools.

And now, here I am, in the second place I've lived in in Lake Charles. I have my own furniture now, things I picked up at thrift stores or secondhand. I have cats. I go to readings and I grade papers. I have good friends and we like to cook for each other and lend each other books. I suppose I'm an adult, but I still don't feel like one, however unlike college, I'm not surprised that adults don't suddenly appear out of thin air and stop me from doing whatever it is I have my mind set on. My apartment is cluttered with blankets and wine glasses and books and magazines. I have my own washer and dryer, a fact that never ceases to give me great pleasure. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a dollhouse, but wow, all the appliances really work.

So those are my thoughts about rooms. And also, six months ago today, I started dating my best friend. I kissed him, or he kissed me, the details of which we can't really decide on. It was October though, and it was a beautiful day. I remember laughing. We stole a garage sale sign and put it in a friend's yard. We jumped a fence. Well Brendan did, my jump was less smooth, more of a graceful fall. We ate fudgesicles. Of course, by now I've heard stories about his life and all the rooms he has occupied (more than me even). I'm enthralled with all these stories, with who has been and the places he has lived. It's hard to ever explain how you feel about someone else, but I think quite simply, I feel glad and lucky that he has made room for me; That we are making room for each other.

me and you
Here's to all your rooms and the people and things you fill them with,
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe
A Room of One's Own

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post! I really like that collection of photos. Everyone should check them out, they are awesome. Love you Stacy!!


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