Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Remember: My secret hideout

Doing my routine copious amount of reading about child-development and play, I've been reminded about the need many children have for a place to call their own; a corner, a nook, or a hiding place.  Oh yes, I remember that.  Like most impulses it invariably had roots in needing to feel in-control of something, if only over a 2 foot square corner in all the wide world.  For me that spot was my closet, or at least the bottom of it.

Over the years I created various reading nooks (always with 2 or 5 flashlights) and secret hide-outs in the same very small space.  There was a long spell when the Barbie doll house took over my sacred spot to open up a bit of floorspace in my bedroom.  I couldn't explain why this felt like an invasion of my privacy, so I just rolled with it.  But then I found myself carving out even smaller territories.  The bottom of my bedside table became riddled with treasures and proclamations in pencil.  My bedrails held all sorts of innocuous secrets, and an entire drawer of my dresser was taken over at one point by notes and trinkets and unfinished short-stories.

At some point in Junior High I got my closet floor back, and did what any normal newly-teenaged girl would do. I plastered the space with stills from Newsies that I printed off of the internet.  ( A newfangled concept at the time... I am not a Spring Chicken).   At some point I moved my CD player/boombox that was the size of a large dog into the closet with me.  I can tell you that the floor of a closet is not the ideal spot for listening to anything with effectual privacy, but the idea of it was wonderful.  Being ecclectic even then I listened to a quirky mix of showtunes, crooners, country, mixtapes from friends and year-round Christmas Carols.

Our back yard growing up was spacious but far too open to the neighborhood to afford me any real privacy. I didn't learn how much people need trees until I lived in PA.  I did occasionally escape to the trampoline on warm days to lie very still and close my eyes and converse with my racing mind.  Despite being completely exposed, there is something deliciously intimate about closing your eyes in the sunshine.

I was halfway through High School when my family moved and I found myself, for almost 6 months, with a room AND a bathroom AND a walk-in closet all to myself.  I was in heaven.  Not so much for the amount of space, or for the teenage variety of privacy.  It was the sense of control that having ownership over such a perfectly blank slate gave me.  I could put things where I wanted without the slightest bit of deference to others.  Whatever I did was right because I was the only one who had to approve.  Unfortunately those months were overshadowed by other aspects of my life and actually constitute the low-point in my life to date.  Se la vie.

Then my Grandmother came to live with us for a while and after just a couple of days of an arrangement where she was crowded into a corner bedroom and sharing a bathroom with my 4 siblings, I knew I had to give up my newly acquired nesting space.  It was truly okay.  My Senior Year of High School I was a such a blur that I never landed in one place for long enough to need it very much.  And I was only slightly less blurry in college (rather to the dismay of most of my roommates).  But as I watched my dear friend Ari set up her first home in downtown Provo, I was frequently overcome with how right it felt to see her nesting and creating a home for herself. (And she was superb at it!)  I had the most selfless sort of envy, and I found every sort of excuse to visit her because I felt so at home in her home.  Ironically she's now enduring my same brand of homelessness.

And now, for this time being, I find myself and Sir O both struggling for some autonomous space.  My little sister is now in my old teenager suite, and my boys and I have taken over all the other bedrooms.  Well, we're occupying them at least.  Other than my nesting in the nursery nothing quite feels on purpose.  All my containers and vases and lamps and art are in storage.  I had wanted to remodel all the bedrooms while we are here, but the resources are not forthcoming and I'm not in a position to be stubborn and do it anyway.  I'm learning to be pickier when I pick my battles.  But if I live to see the day I am given a green light to nest I fully intend to savor it.

Sir O, on the other hand, is frequently found hiding in closets, singing to himself and lining up contraband fruit snacks in perfect little rows.


Carolanne said...

I love your writing style. Very engaging. I've been reading the Slippery slides book you mentioned in another post,and the "space to play" concept really stood out to me too. It is something I will definitely keep in mind for the next house we buy.

hairyshoefairy said...

I loved this post, Em! The floor of my closet was a place for me, too. I'd sleep in there often. My girl has found it to be a great secret hideout, too. I wonder if someday my whole house will feel that way to me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...