Saturday, May 22, 2010

Personal Space

In the interest of full disclosure, this is a photo of my bedroom:

My mom is wary of the Internet and its users’ intentions, so it feels a little bit weird to post this photo. It’s quite intimate to put something like this up for whoever happens to come upon this blog to see because it’s my personal space. Living in New York, I don’t often get to experience the grand luxury of personal space, and I didn’t have the desire for much of it when I was recently traveling. But this photo is truly MY personal space.

As a kid, my sister and I always had separate rooms and separate spaces. I never really liked being alone, though, and until I was about ten years old, I would crawl into my sister’s bed nearly every night and insist that she hold me because I couldn’t sleep. This act is a testament to my sister’s love for me because she always seemed annoyed, but she did it anyway. In high school, my friends dubbed my action the “rollover move” because during slumber parties no matter who slept next to me, she always got at least an arm if not an arm and a leg draped around her as she slept. I couldn’t help it then, and I’m still a devoted cuddler no matter the room temperature or blanket situation. I will always surrender my personal space in the interest of an all-night cuddle.

As much as I don’t need personal space to sleep, I never realized how valuable it was until I had none. Living with a partner is stressful for many reasons, the most important of which is the loss of personal space in which to just chill out and do your own thing alone. But even with the absence of a companion living in my bedroom now, I still find it difficult to get any time truly alone. I wake up in my bed and after my shower, that is the last of my personal space for the day. I cram onto a train with what seems like a million people, I push past people all the way until I get to my desk where there never seems to be enough space. At the end of the day, I’ll pile back on the train to meet up with people in a crowded bar or restaurant for dinner and drinks. And then it starts all over again when I lay down to bed at night.

In the suburbs, everyone has so much space, but in the city, we are crammed into tiny compartments literally stacked on top of one another. After an idyllic childhood, it’s still difficult to adjust to having no space of my own in the city. But I suppose it isn’t the solitude that anyone is seeking when they move to the city.

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