When I was younger, I had a canopy bed. I don’t remember if this is something I asked for or something bought for me but I imagine it’s the latter. My mother desperately wanted me to like girl things; I had two older brothers and refused to wear skirts until I was nineteen. Before then it was denim overalls and enormous flannel shirts I got at Costco, dirty sneakers and sweatshirts I took from my brothers’ rooms. I can remember incarnations of my childhood bedroom: in lavender and unicorns, in baby pink and victorian dolls, in blue with an obnoxious sunflower bedspread. All these makeovers I wanted fiercely (under, perhaps, my mother’s influence) and then instantly disliked. But we moved a lot. It was never long before I got to choose again.
Coming home now, my room is only half me. It’s filled with some of my things (children’s books, rubber stamps) and some of my mother’s things (expensive furniture, grown-up curtains) but the color schemes are all her: muted and chosen specifically for their resale value. The bed has my comforter on it but the mattress is one I’d never be able to afford: plush and thick and enormous. One day I’ll come home and my bedroom won’t be mine at all. It will be another guest bedroom. It will have nothing left of me.
Yesterday I spent three hours going through boxes of stuff I brought home from New York. I was hungover the day my parents came to pick me up and I never finished packing. In the half hour before they got there, I threw everything I owned into trash bags and oversized tupperware containers my brother lent me. The result is a mess of things I do not want. Books I’ve read and hated. Old pay stubs. Stained aprons. Goodwill cookbooks. Yellowed throw pillows. Trash.
My bedroom in Scotland is bare bones and hotel sterile. The bedspread isn’t mine. The carpet is flat and cheap and hard. The furniture is Ikea-white and flimsy.
My last year in New York: cluttered and crammed with all the things I had amassed over four years. One bookshelf stacked with three bookshelves’ worth of books, kitchen cabinets filled with bundt cake pans, two big closets bursting with clothes and shoes I never wore.
Your bedrooms say a lot about you, I guess. Now mine has candles, a sizable collection of sunglasses, too many silk scarves. Arts and crafts and my cat at the end of my bed. My mother is knitting me a new afghan and I am slowing throwing away everything that doesn’t fit here anymore.
photograph taken by Amanda in my last apartment in Brooklyn.