“The things you own end up owning you.”
How much does a new bedroom set really say about me? Does it define me? Of course, the answer is much more complex than the question.
Yesterday Nikola and I purchased a new bedroom set: bed, frame, mattress, nightstands, dresser with mirror, and wardrobe. It is all set to be delivered in two weeks. The large impulse purchase- for we really didn’t NEED it- has me thinking about space and self.
When I was young, my bedroom was a public space.
As a child, I had a single bed and a closet filled with toys. When we had company over, my mother would send me and whatever children were around my age into my room to play. Pink plastic horses and teddy bears, along one wall a cornflower clue comforter covering the bed, and no privacy.
As I grew, my bedroom changed several times. Being the only girl in the house I had my own room, while my brothers had to share, but was never particularly possessive of it. A room in California, three different rooms in New York, and finally, a room in Prescott. The ‘playing’ changed from dolls and horses to whispered conversations about boys and school and other teenage drama. I graduated to a queen sized bed, and packed countless friends into it over the years, wondering briefly if friends cuddled or slept on opposite edges of the bed before I fell asleep.
During these years I was slightly more obsessed with decoration than I am now. My walls housed posters, drawings, and, strangely, the back covers of three years worth of reader’s digest magazines. At least twice a year I shuffled the bed, desk, and dresser around to try to find a new perspective.
In high school, the room became less of a place to play and more of a place to work. It was where I practiced my instruments. It was where I wrote. My senior year I got my first computer, a Christmas present for impending college, and I moved my studying from the kitchen table to my bedroom.
Then, college began, and I started sharing my room. Bunk beds and a refrigerator, the room, especially my dorm room, became a social hub. People stopping by with sack lunches, or to heat a bowl of spaghetti-o’s, to play a board game or get dressed for RHPS. People came and went, and still, the decorations in the rooms were meant to say something about who I was to the many people passing through.
Even when I lived alone, as a single girl, my room was designed to be presented. A cuddly nest on the floor for dates, a few conversational pieces on the walls.
Now, suddenly, it seems like things are different. Nikola and I have a “grown up,” life, and a “grown up” living arrangement. Which works out to a very private bedroom that very few people have any reason to enter.
We have a living room, where we live. There is no reason to retreat to the solitude of our bedroom with a meal or to watch a movie. We can do that in the dining area or the living room. When we have guests, we have a fold out couch where they sleep, making our bed our own. Computers are in the living room and office. Guitar is in the living room. All of our ‘life’ is lived outside of our bedroom.
And yet… our bedroom is not a place for only sleep and sex. It is a place for a very private, intimate family life. It is where we read Peatuk bedtime stories. It is where we lay in bed, looking up at fake stars and point out false constellations to each other. It is where Peatuk eats his last snack before bedtime, and falls asleep so peacefully on my breast. It is where we cuddle and whisper secrets to each other. In some ways it is a very sacred space.
So, as we slowly accumulate furniture to put on display and make our guests comfortable- a couch, a table, a microwave, shouldn’t we also take the time to turn that private space into the sanctuary it could be? Yes, we could last with the hard mattress and slightly squeaky bed that rocks back and forth like a ship at sea whenever one of us crawls in at the end of the day. We could keep the slightly wonky, blocky cabinets from the 1980’s. Or, we can fill that room with warm, elegant furniture and make it into our oasis.
I am not the type to neglect my own desires for the sake of appearances, and neither is Nikola. Hopefully, that is something we will teach Peatuk as well, as we lay on our comfy bed and dream together.