In my previous blog post, I had described my bedroom as one of my favorite spaces, which is something I am slowly reconsidering.
In films and television, young people’s rooms are often depicted as refuges or sanctuaries, personalized to reflect one’s interests.
These elements certainly apply to me, but I don’t feel as free as I ought to. It sometimes feels as though it is not my own space; I didn’t choose to live there, as my room was picked out for me before I was even born. Another example (a stranger one) is the fact I have drawers filled with objects that remind of difficult times in my life, and I tend to avoid them. For some reason, I don’t feel comfortable enough to explore the things I store in my own room. In a way, my room represents a part of my personality that I don’t particularly like; it is often cluttered and messy, with little space to move freely without feeling boxed in. There are things I keep in my room that I haven’t needed for quite some time, but I can’t bring myself to let them go. Sometimes I wish I could throw everything out and start fresh, keeping only the bare essentials (or maybe leaving altogether). There is technically nothing that is prohibiting me from doing so (it’s a private space, so I can do virtually anything that I want within reason), but I am getting in my own way.
Since I normally keep busy by doing homework or watching television, I decided to experience the room somewhat differently by sitting in completely silence and scanning my surroundings, which did not feel comfortable. There’s something about it that keeps my mind from being clear, perhaps because of the clutter I mentioned earlier. Whenever I tidy up, I feel a short-lived sense of rejuvenation, but being busy (and lazy, frankly) means that, within a couple of days, the room returns to its usual state.
It always surprises me how if I wake up in a hotel room or some other temporary space, for a few brief moments it feels as though I am waking up in my bedroom. The feeling of the space carries over even if I’m on another continent. This is reminiscent of Sara Ahmed’s exploration of dwellings leaving impressions on the skin; spaces are not simply exterior to the body, but are intertwined with it. Perhaps my mind convinces me that a random hotel bed is my own bed to comfort me, or maybe it is simply due to an oft-repeating memory/experience that is part of my daily life; either way, it’s interesting considering the fact that I often feel a disconnect when I’m actually in the space. There is an intriguing duality there that can’t easily be articulated. The simplest way to explain it would be that I have a love/hate relationship with my room (and by extension, my home), characterized by both my desire to move away (to discover my own home, as opposed to the one I was born into) and the inherent comfort it gives me.
Ahmed, Sara. (2006) Queer Phenomenology Ch. 1: Orientations Towards Objects, section “Inhabiting Spaces” (51-63). Durham: Duke University Press.
Life is meaningless.