Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Blue Room

I think it's time to share a bit about the blue room.

The first time I moved out of state was at age 14. I left my hometown, the state in which I was born, and all the people I'd ever known. I was Illinois-bound for high school. I thought I'd live there forever, too.

My parents bought a big house. It had way too many rooms. Rooms they filled with spare boxes and things they refused to get rid of, things I called "clutter." I couldn't stand the idea of a junk room. The feeling of it littered my soul.

But I had my own bedroom. My parents let me pick any color I wanted. I picked a vivid, dark turquoise. I had a reversible rainbow-colored bedspread with large polka dots on one side and stripes on the other. I had a small nightstand with two droors and a tall standing lamp with rainbow shades. I didn't have a bed frame but I did have a double-layered mattress cushion that acted as my bed. The very fact that it lay so close to the floor just added to the whole minimalist bohemian feel.

I remember at night turning the lights down low, positioning myself in the center of my mattress and reading The Catcher in the Rye for the first time. I was so into it. It became my favorite book for awhile.

No matter how crazy the rest of the house was, my room was a whole other world that could envelope me.  I could go anywhere. My mattress was my magic carpet.

Come senior year of high school, my parents informed me that we would once again be collecting our lives into cardboard boxes and moving away. This time to Kentucky. I was thrilled. I loved Kentucky. The two times I'd seen it, I realized I could attend college there and start a new life. I would miss my best friends dearly but they were moving away too. This could be my new start. Maybe I could live there forever.

Most of this time, my parents and I argued incessantly. In particular, my mother and I. She was hurtful, berating, and degrading. I tried to tell myself it was the medication talking but my conscience kept saying, "If you were a mother, it wouldn't matter how medicated you were, you would never say something like that to your daughter." And I knew it was right.

Once the house went on the market, things escalated from bad to manic. On Christmas break my parents bought two buckets of shiny white paint and told me that I would be spending my time making my room neutral. By that point in time, I'd obtained actual furniture; a bed frame, two night stands, and a TV station. Everything was moved out except for my bed, which was just scooted to the room's center. The carpets were laden with newspaper and old adds for electronics or what-have-you. We spent a couple days trying to cover the walls but streaks still showed through. It was like a prolonged torture. If they were going to take the walls away from me, they should've done it fast, rip-away-a-band-aid style. With a couple coats of primer, plus more white paint the walls were ready to dry into neutralization.

I had to sleep on the couch for a week or so. I remember my dad getting mad at me for staying up late and reading Memoirs of a Geisha. After he went back to bed, I popped the movie version of Memoirs in the DVD player and turned the volume down low. I also remember watching Shopgirl. That movie had such a weird mood but it captured exactly how I felt. So I loved it for that.

One day after a huge blow-up fight with my mother over God-knows-what I ran up to my room and locked the door. There were still paint fumes, newspapers on the floor and the windows were cracked. I played the very first song by The Doors that appeared on my iPod and let it play through in its entirety. I didn't come out the whole day. I remember feeling the hunger rumbling between my ribs and how good it felt. My path to enlightenment had to include suffering. I was freezing but I didn't reach for a blanket. I just stayed in the same position on my back all day, staring underneath my bed. They'd taken the blue room from me and they weren't even sorry for it.

Recently in my life, I've been experiencing a similar chain of events. I feel like my parents are trying to metaphorically paint my room again. For some reason, I've not met their expectations so I feel disconnected and numb when I'm around them. They're keeping me from people and things I love by the all-too-common "you-live-under-my-roof" rule. I feel suffocated, made to bury my own grave, made to paint my blue room white. I keep making preparations to move out but my attempts just fall short at this stage in my life. I don't know when or how I will get out, yet I know it necessary. It's terrifying to imagine a life independent with all my own costs.

In the meantime, I'm under my bed, atop newspaper, winter windows cracked, blasting The Doors, starving.

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