In Her Room

Do you remember what your room looked like when you were growing up?

I have vague memories of various versions of mine, from the time I was really young until I was in college. We lived on a farm in the country until I was in my sophomore year of college, when my parents sold our house and moved to the “city.”  Too much upkeep, not enough time and energy. My room was in the front of our ranch-style brick house with a walkout basement, with my window overlooking the front porch. It wasn’t a huge room, maybe 10×10 in size. I had a chest of drawers and an old creaky twin bed and a TV stand with a little black and white TV topped by a huge antenna (I’m pretty sure my kids have never seen one of those). There were lots of barbies when I was younger, and lots of clothes when I was older. We rearranged it over the years, putting my bed in different places, changing the wall color and the bedding and the posters, but it was always my space, my quiet place of refuge, where I studied and read and daydreamed and kept my secrets. It’s where I learned to put on make-up and where I spent hours on the phone and where I did a lot of  crying during the hormonal ups and downs of being a teenage girl.

When I was a senior in high school, my parents finished part of the basement and moved my room downstairs. There I had a huge room with green carpeting and a sofa and an enormous walk-in closet. It was divine, except when I needed to go to the bathroom and had to go upstairs to find one. My dog slept outside my door (our dogs were never allowed in our “living” space) and I would hear him thump against my bedroom door all night, trying to get as close to me as he could. We had good dogs.

I wish I could remember my room(s) more clearly. I probably have a few photos here and there, shoved in an old photo box, but not a lot. I probably spent more time in my room than anywhere else over those years. I’m not sure what that says about me.

I’ve been after Syd for awhile to do a shoot in her room, and with today being a snow day off of school, I seized the opportunity. Now that she’s a full blown teenager, she’s kind of picky about when and why I want to take photos of her, and especially about who I show them to. I told her I wanted to capture her in her room, in her space, and make a little album of it so she would always be able to remember her room. She probably doesn’t spend as much time in her room as I did growing up, but she’s there enough. Her room isn’t professionally decorated nor is it really neat and tidy. You will notice there are no pictures of the underneath of her bed or much of the inside of her closet or drawers. I did tidy it up before I took pictures – mostly just putting clothes away that were scattered all over the floor and vacuumed – but I tried to leave it as authentic as I could stand it. She is definitely not a neat freak, and I tell her all the time that she is just one decade away from starring on an episode of “Hoarders.”  There is also more candy stashed in her room than you could find at a 7-11.

But it’s her space, not mine. And even though the One Direction shrine she has built in one corner makes me a little uncomfortable, it probably pales in comparison to my Kirk Cameron and River Phoenix and Bernie Kosar posters (yes, I had a thing for the former Cleveland Browns quarterback in 7th grade) that covered my closet door when I was a teenager. I’m cool with it as long as Louis Tomlinson doesn’t show up on my doorstep.

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