It’s always kind of weird to come back to where I grew up. I’ve been back in S. Park the past few days for a mini vacation due to Thanksgiving, and sitting here in my childhood bedroom, I’m struck by how many memories this one room holds for me. The walls are bright blue and green, a testament to my teenage taste and personality, the furniture maple-toned, matching the hardwood floor that runs throughout the house. It isn’t a large room, but yet the furniture fits comfortably, the single bed marking that period in my life where I wanted as much floor space as possible so I could stretch undisturbed (though how often I actually did that is debatable). If I think about the walls and furniture, though, I must remember that they weren’t always that way, not when I was in my prima ballerina faze and white furniture handed down from my mother stood in the room, softer pinks, blues and greens dominating my décor. Yet even before then, as a small child, primary colours chosen by my mother were all the rage, stuffed animals my most intimate friends and devoted company.
I look back at the walls and notice that though the colour is bright it sometimes is hard to make out due to how many objects cover them, from ceiling to floor. The objects on the wall document everything from festivals and performances I participated in, to past travels, accomplishments, birthday parties, and art projects. They range in age, some dating back to the last few months of the 80s, others to just a few years ago, a timeline of the most important events within my past 26 years: a photo of my first Christmas, a poster of my first semi-professional Ukrainian dance tour, spoons from various places I’ve traveled, my university degree. Every object tells a story, hearkens back to the fleshed-out moment it now symbolizes.
The books do the same. Stacks upon stacks of books are piled into every nook and cranny, books I haven’t finished, books I’ve read once or twice, and books that have been supremely loved over the years. Each book, each photo album, each journal and notebook represents a part of me, my interests (whether they remain the same or have changed), my story, another timeline. The old school binders tell an even more specific story as they showcase the work I actually did, the subjects I excelled in and those that provided an intellectual struggle (whether I wanted to admit it or not).
Most important, though, of all these things I find in my room are the little secret things hidden in cracks and at the back of drawers, the sneakiest places in the closet. The paper notes my friends and I passed in class (before anyone had a cellphone); the ticket stubs of movies and shows I’d seen; the paint chips I saved in anticipation of having my own house; the musings I wrote down before I started a blog. When I read those notes and take out the ticket stubs and paint chips and travel back to each moment in time, I can see that I truly have lived. I had opinions and feelings in each of those moments, and those opinions and feelings motivated me to write that note or see that film or dream about what was yet to come and put those thoughts on paper. And looking back to then from now, I can see how this girl who is myself has grown from the person I was to the person I am, never changing completely, but rather becoming more and more me as each day passes.
You may be wondering what the point of this post is. I’m not sure I truly know myself. All I know is that for the past hour or so I’ve sat here in silence, taking the time to appreciate the experiences I’ve had while anticipating those to come, something I hardly ever do.
I think I’ve just had Thanksgiving.