An Ode to A Room

Of all the religious beliefs out there in the world, the one I have always resonated with (aside from the religion I belong to) is animism.  Animism is the belief is that all things from animals and plants to rocks, rivers, and words have some a life and spirit to them.  There is an agency to them, an intentionality of their existence and that they all have their own wants and desires.  It is considered of the oldest types of religion, and that most other forms of religion stemmed from this idea.
For me, this is a familiar feeling. Much to the chagrin of my mother, I tend to hold on to things.  Once a memory is attached to a certain item, then it feels as if part of my very soul is connected with it. You might say, that’s just because you are a sentimentalist. I can’t argue with that, but for me, I have always wondered if everyday objects have wants and desires.  If when using them for their creates purpose they are delighted and fulfilled, and when they are left to sit unused they feel dejected and alone.
All this personification aside, objects within our lives that have traveled with us take on a particular personalization.  Like well-worn clothes, they seem to fit the curves and angles just right, or a pen starts to feel familiar in your hand.  Now I want to tell you a story about one of these objects, one I’ve been with longer than most things in my life.

When I was told that I would finally have my own room, I was ecstatic. Finally, I wouldn’t have to share a room with my sister (at least not all the time).  My five-year-old self didn’t understand the concept of privacy or the later significance of four walls to call your own would be, I only knew I wanted one.  I was taken to my new room, a small multipurpose floor with sliding glass door to the outside, and an even smaller closet. At the time, I was the one who took up the least amount of space it made sense I would get the most modest space (that logic didn’t persist when I became bigger than both my mother and sister). I remembered being terrified of my room in the beginning. There were 4 doors in it and all of them held the boogieman.

Eventually, the glass door became nothing more than a window, my bed became larger along with my clothes.  The fears of childhood left me, and I went from playing with blocks and legos on the floor to watching movies and reading on my bed.  Being someone who spent a lot of time at home, my room was the most familiar place to me in the entire house.  It became a sanctuary, a refuge for my the long nights and growing pains I experienced.  It became a place to hide away when talking to other people was simply out of the question.  It was my fortress of solitude where I could have any thoughts I wanted and not be judged. It was a consistency in my life, and the only time I would be separated from it was when my family would visit, and I would have to relinquish my room to my grandmother.
My room continued to evolve with time, filling with trinkets, nicknacks, and pieces of my life I thought were important at the time.  My small room began to fill with memories I created, mixing the old and the new to make up who I was. In a way, it was a reflection of growth and proof of existence.  Furniture came and went, it moved to different settings, feelings, and configurations but never grew to beyond the scope of those four walls. The room never changed in size or color but at times felt entirely new and different. It’s all I could ask for, and it made me happy.

By the time I entered college, I had started to feel the limitations bearing down on me.  My spirit wanted more, and I was growing up and wanted to get a space without all the rules of home. I got my opportunity came when I went off to school.  Only when I would come back to visit would it see me again.
My mother used the space as a spare bedroom for anyone who needed a place to stay in the meantime. It was then my room became stagnant, that it stopped growing with me and became a reflection of who I was before I left. This why after to years of growth and change we were thrust together again.  It became flooded with new memories, and a new desire for it all at once and I was thrown back into my life before I left.  I had finally realized what it was to grow beyond the 4 walls and now the space had felt like a prison. It confined me to the person who I was before I left, I know it didn’t do it on purpose, and it meant well, but the box was already open.
The room offered me a home, as it always had. Even through all the hardship, it was the familiar place to go back to at the end of the day. I learned all those hard lessons within its embrace, it sheltered me those dark sleepless nights.

When my mom told me I needed to look to moving out, I knew that my time in my room was over.  Over the course of many months, I started to dismantle what my room was, piece by piece.  Took the pictures off the wall, removed the items from my top shelf, emptied out my closet and bookshelf.  I slowly began to see the white walls again, and the feeling that it was slowly becoming less of my room began to set in.  At the end, all I had left was my mattress on the floor and empty bookshelf, and now even that is gone. All there is left is the memory, the marks on the wall, the patches in the paint, the stairs that lead to nowhere, the small marks and indent on the floor from my furniture.  These are all memories etched into this room’s surface.The physical manifestation of time passing and lives being lived. I’ve had this room just short of 20 years and it is marked by our time together.
Eventually, when some else lives there, will they understand the dents in the wall, the scratches on the floor, the life I had in this room? To anyone else, these are just imperfections to be fixed, like how someone sees another person’s scars.
I am happy to have spent all this time in this room, and now that I am leaving it’s only fitting at taking a second to pause about the experiences one room can hold.
This room will probably not miss me as I miss it. I wanted to send my words out into the ether, hope in some strange way that it understand that I loved it and I  couldn’t forget it even if I tried. Thank you for giving me 4 walls, a floor that I could spend so much of my life in. Seeing you empty even now feels so strange, but I hope that whatever you become next is filled with as much happiness, love, and memory that my stay there did.

Thank you for all the years, goodbye and good luck.

Convert To Humanity

I’ve gone to church for all of my life.  Mass after mass every Sunday,  learning about what to do, how to do it, and what is the righteous path. Growing up in the church makes people a bit apathetic, less responsive, and less zealous. I can remember sitting in the pews when I was younger, dosing off as the something akin to muscle memory took me through the motions.  Responses and prayers at that point just become words and empty ritual that your hearts not into (not the best way to practice religion).
It was in these brief periods of dozing that I realized there were a group of people who had all the love and faith to put into the mass, who hung on every word. They would sit in anticipation for the next lesson, and always have a distinct reverence for God, and be the loudest voices when it came to singing and praying.  These people I would find out later usually converted to the religion. People who ultimately chose to be there, not because of some familial obligation or routine, but because they found exactly what they were looking for. As I got older, I had always had a great deal of respect for them, because it’s their zeal that I aspire to.

It was around age 7 when if you wanted to find me I would be in one of two places, staring at a screen in the living room, or watching a screen in my bedroom.  It’s not that I was particularly antisocial, but I had always felt more comfortable with a monitor in front of me.  If I wasn’t at school or with friends that was what I was doing.  Video games and cartoons were my life, a consistency that I sought, and for some time, the only consistency I had.  I wasn’t much for humanity, people were fun to be around, but I always guarded myself against them. For a while there I didn’t understand the appeal of people, though at times I enjoy being around them, I always defaulted back to that life in front of the screen. People and I seemed to be on a very different wavelength so when was playing video games it was my home, it was my haven, where I would go to escape into the world I felt like I might actually belong to.
As I grew older, the feeling of something missing within me began to grow.  Though video games and anime were fun, they ultimately could only provide a mostly superficial experience.  No matter how far I delved to fill this part of myself, I was never really satisfied completely.  I doubled down, how can something that had sustained me for this long suddenly be lacking. Hundreds of episodes, countless games, and hours staring at the backlit screen of a laptop, I needed something to change, but for a while nothing did.
It was much later when I started to see the value in those types of relationships we foster. It took a while for that desire to spread root within me. It was then that my love of humanity began to grow because it was something I realized I wanted to be a part of, something I knew would make me feel more complete and alive. I wanted to know as much as I could about this group that I seemed strangely distant from. I wanted to be apart humanity because I finally accepted I was human.

When I think about why I believe in humanity so much, in the goodness of man, the greatness of our capability.  I realize, I chose to be part of this miraculous people and have fallen in love with our antics.  It’s a zeal I find reminiscent to those converts to religion. I sing out praised of humanity and acknowledge their shortfalls. I find that I love people because doing so makes me feel whole. It birthed a passion that I can’t live without.

At the end of it, I believe in how great people can be.  I have always been a lover of history, and it has always been enough evidence to show me how much we can accomplish if we really push ourselves. Within the last century athletes, academics and activists have pushed the boundary and advanced our society beyond people hundreds of years ago would be able to fathom.  Though there are times in which we follow a misguided or evil path, we always show a high capability to learn and grow.  Our greatest strength is to adapt and teach others a better way and strive for a better future. I am a convert to humanity, a believer in our purpose, I will sing our songs to the heavens and hang on every lesson.