It’s taken time, but I think I’m finally getting it: the importance of nurturing your own space.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in this world who could confidently accuse me of being tidy. My room is regularly cluttered with clothes on the floor, piles of paperwork and endless scraps with lists littering the spaces in between. My locker at school was always a mess of papers, with me resorting to having the one big book I’d tote around for every subject so I wouldn’t have to sort through it to find what I needed. When I set myself up at a desk in a class or at the library, I unintentionally spread myself out so I’m using all of the space that I’m allocated, if not more. Even now, as I write this on my “bed-desk”, while my bed is made, I have two textbooks, a cookbook and a notebook taking up the side that I’m not sitting on, with my journal and a few pieces of paper on the floor beside me. It’s not that I’m not clean – I can clean like no ones business! – but being tidy hasn’t been much of a priority for me over the years. I do my best to keep the clutter in my room (there is a lot of stuff in here) because I live with 5 other people who I don’t want to annoy too much. But if I’m feeling just altogether shit or unmotivated, I tend to let myself get away with being untidy – in order to somehow make me feel better.
So far this year (12 days in, I know), I’ve managed to be a tidy person. Not an everything-in-its-perfectly-labelled-place tidy, but a make-my-bed-every-day, take-10-minutes-at-the-end-of-the-day-to-put-things-away kind of tidy. And it’s really nice! It’s like I’ve discovered this ace way to give myself a present every day by putting things away, folding my washing the same day I hang it and basically giving my room more space. My room still has that cluttered, eclectic feel but it’s the space that truly makes it comforting. Of course, this isn’t a revolutionary idea, but when you live with so many other people and use your room for running a business, running a blog, writing a book, relaxing and sleeping, you can get caught up in the doing and forget the creativity and refreshment that comes with simplicity and tidiness.
I was talking last night to a new friend, Talei, who has just come back from a very long stint overseas, living in a van. Among the wonderful things we chatted about when she had wandered into my room for a gander, she mentioned how much she couldn’t wait to have her own room again. This was when I realised that I actually really love my room. Looking around, it’s quite lovely, and shows a little insight to who I am and the sort of space I want to be in. From the masses of cookbooks and textbooks, the quilts handmade by each of my Auntys, the beautiful plants bringing life to the space, to the collection of Frankie magazines (from Issue 14 onwards, missing only 1 issue – a recent one). Next to my bed is a huge pile of books I’m slowly making my way through and randomly throughout the space are boxes of tea that I can’t fit in my kitchen. A painting by my best friend, Lisa, sits opposite my bed so I can see it and be inspired by it every day. It’s actually rather wonderful. I enjoy being in here. Whether I’m working or relaxing, and being able to have this space, MY space, not sharing it with a boy or a sister, being able to decorate it and use it however I please is liberating. This is my room. No one else will have a room like this, and I can choose who I invite to share in the prettiness of it with me. By maintaining the tidy – fighting that part of me that would rather leave it til later – and putting more of me in here, I’ve managed to create a space I want to be in, and it’s helping me get used to, nay, enjoy being on my own. I don’t want to share this space with a partner. I don’t want to change it for other people. I want to be in here, blast my tunes loudly like a teenager, read what I want, watch what I want and create however I want, all because of my room.
I feel like it’s an important step in being single and independent and getting to know myself, enjoying my own space. Especially as someone who so often yearns for social time on a daily basis. I can now see myself getting more creative this year as I embrace the creative part of myself and be organised enough to continue this tidiness all year round (I got the idea from Mr.Kate, when she encouraged people to make their bed every day as a luxurious New Year’s resolution). I love that this strange thing has made me feel happier, independent and strong; the fact that it has is inspiring for me in itself. Do you have/need/nurture your own space? What makes the space feel more like a place you want to be?
(clearly, for me, plants are one of those things)