A Place to Call My Own

When I was 14, I begged for weeks to decorate my room the way I wanted.  Ultimately my parents relented and allowed me to pick my palettte. It was a dangerous move if I ever saw one. With their blessing, I decorated my room like an “inverted hill” as someone once said. I chose a green so bright you had to shade your eyes for the top half of my wall, a sunflower yellow to fill a geometric three-dimensional border, and sky blue wall paper for the bottom half of my walls. All through high school and visits home during college, my cat and my friends made themselves at home in my room. I loved hanging out in my room as we played board games, laughed late into the night, and enjoyed life without any messy responsibilities.

No visitor could happen into our house without commenting on how blinding my green walls were, and sometimes, how unexpected. I’m a pretty quiet and unassuming person; you wouldn’t expect my room to shout as it did. The past few years, I’ve tinkered with it a little, but since I’ve never been home for long, I largely left it as it was and chuckled to myself when I knew guests came to spend the night and were startled with their enthusiastic accommodations. My old cat, Whiskers, spent lots of time in it, occasionally getting into some mischief, but generally just sleeping the day away.

A month out from my AmeriCorps term ending now and with little definition to my immediate future, I decided to finally tackle my room redecoration project. I have a different cat, furniture that is distinctly IKEA, and well, hopefully a better developed sense of what looks good. I’ve spent the past few weeks sorting out the boxes that represent my life, getting rid of many things, shoving others into storage in my brother’s garage. I cleaned everything up, and then stripped my walls of their pictures, shelves, and diplomas to create a simpler look that would provide a relaxing atmosphere. I picked new shades of my favorite colors – blue and green – and set to painting. As of this afternoon, I’ve officially finished putting everything in its place. A storage cart holding my craft supplies doubles as a desk, I’ve downsized from a futon to a twin bed, and hung up maps to remind me how many places I have yet to explore. I may not know how long I’ll be here, but at least I can feel more confident about leaving this place as a more relaxing guest room when I’m gone again. Until then, it is mine to enjoy.