Where do you go when you feel the pressure of the day weigh down upon you like a sodden life vest? Where do you run to for solace when you cannot get the chaos in your head to quiet down? What do you do when you simply need to remove yourself from the rat race of life? Where is your safe place that you can let out all your emotions and fears safely? We all should have an escape route to get us away from that which afflicts us with uneasiness and pain. We all should have that special place that we can run to for comfort and peace. I have had the same one since childhood. My escape is a single, small room inside my home.
From my early days of childhood my bedroom was my retreat; an escape to imagine and be creative. Living in a rural area in the Midwest, many afternoons, if not outside playing in the yard, were spent playing, creating, reading, writing, and daydreaming in my room. It was my own little escape. No one ever bothered me if I snuck away to lay in bed, stare out the window daydreaming of lands far away, or envisioning adventures I may embark on in adulthood. Even in my youth I had a mind that was constantly questioning, wondering, and wanting to know about everything around me. A deeply sensitive and empathic child, I needed time to escape from people. I needed quiet time to recharge my mind, spirit, and soul. My bedroom became my refuge when needed or wanted.
Fast forward to those tumultuous teen years and the bedroom became a place to run to from all those that had an authority over me. I would often crank up my boom box or stereo with music that spoke to my soul which would also be accompanied with me flopping myself across the bed staring up at the ceiling. The typical teenage temper-tantrum so stereotypical that we have seen this type of display in person and on the movie screen. I cannot begin to count the number of hours I laid lifeless staring into oblivion feeling misunderstood and alone. My passion for writing re-surfaced during this time in my room. I began to write angst-ridden poetry about non-conforming and finding freedom. My bedroom, by far, was the most important place to me.
College life shortly followed, and the angst-ridden teenager grew into a woman. Much of those four years were drenched in socializing, studying, and exploring. I was never alone as I always had a friend close by. My dorm room became my command central. I could walk in my room and let the weight of the day drop at my feet. In my dorm room I could turn off the outside world by putting my headphones on and getting lost in my studies or catching up on an episode of Friends or Seinfeld. My room, my bed, and those four walls was my safe space, my place of time-out. I loved living in the dorms because I was in proximity of others, but just a few steps away, my retreat waited for me whenever I needed it.
The years to follow were consumed with work, marriage, and children. My bedroom became a place less frequently visited, rather a space to crash between midnight feedings or calming of a child from something that went bump in the night. It was a place of necessity and no longer my retreat. And then one day something happened that would alter my life forever. It was then that this room, which was just a spot of purpose, became my saving grace once again.
In 2011 I embarked on a lengthy health battle that would later become very convoluted and entangled with familial drama. Immediately my room was no longer a place of sleep, rather it transformed into my sanctuary. I laid in my bed for three days after the diagnosis just to wrap my head around all that had been thrown at me as I told my children I had the flu. During treatment and the many surgeries, my room and my bed was a healing center. It became the place where my children and I could snuggle, share daily stories, and watch tv while I was on the mend. Undaunted by my appearance, they would gladly hop in next to me for a little visit or catch up on one of their favorite tv programs. Little did they know those hugs and snuggles got me through some rough days. Despite the traumatic memories associated with cancer, I have some amazing ones which surround the laughter and snuggles with my children in that room.
Today, with cancer behind me, I still have that one special place; my bedroom. I no longer live in that same house nor neighborhood, but wherever I call home, my bedroom is my place of peace. It is still my safe place where I can purge my emotions and fears, but it has transformed more into my creation center. It is where I come up with most of my writing ideas, it is my library, it is the place where I can let my mind run free, plan my adventures, and dare to imagine the impossible.
Honestly, we live in a technology driven world where we are subjected and bombarded by stimuli from all forms of media. Although technology keeps us closer to one another than ever before, we all need a break from time to time. It is not only nice, but necessary. Find that one place you can retreat to and simply disconnect from the noise and connect with your inner self and thoughts. Whether it is in nature, at a local coffee shop, or in a specific room in your house, go find your place and make it your own – your soul will thank you.
© Honestly by Ellen Good 2020
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