Carving Out a Node for Yourself

4:30:00 PM

This will be a very personal post for me, because the idea behind this post is rooted in a lesson I learned a little late (though, I would like to think I've intuitively known it all the time.)

Life is all about coordinating your space and other peoples space in tandum, while carving out a space for yourself. As a child you share the "public" spaces with your parents, such as the dining room, bathroom, and kitchen. Growing up, these are the only spaces you truly learn to share. However, because of internal family hierarchies, you don't necessary have any input on these spaces. Your parents may say, "Hey let's go get a new couch," and you probably sat on a bunch of couches and you would tell your parents your preferences. However as a young member in the household who isn't intended to spend more than 1/20th of your life in that space, your opinions probably didn't really matter to your parents. I find that this odd scenario does not set up people for success once they move out of their parents space into a shared space, whether it is with: your significant other, roommates, communities, etc.

(Though, not to be a negative nancy, but my parents did decide to take my input on a bean shaped swivel glass table as a table they hadn't considered before because they liked the tier functionality, so not all hope is lost when trying to buy staple furniture with your parents!)

In reality, the space you had "control" of, and could really assert your own personal aesthetic and space choices was your room. Growing up, I always felt my room was contested territory. I would move my own furniture from a young age, unhappy about the position of my bed, or my dresser, or how things were displayed. If you asked my parents, I'm sure they would tell you how many times I rearranged my room, and how bothered they were by how they had to return it back to its previous arrangement. I was fascinated by the seasons, and I took it as an opportunity with myself to change the decor, the color, and the feel of the room between the seasons through the use of different bed quilts, accent colors of displayed objects and variety of stuffed animals.

As I am about to move into a more permanent space, I'm reminiscing about my past choices in the places I've inhabited and the things I've done correctly and incorrectly. 

My first true feeling of needing a space manifested itself when I originally lived in the Mission, at my "Folsom" apartment. I was living in this space when I first started wearing lolita fashion, and had just started my first real job. For the first time in my life, I could afford items I wanted for my space.  The apartment itself was large, but it was very much a space that I had no control of. I shared a double room with my boyfriend at the time, and a menagerie of shared "public" spaces with roommates. 

The need for  my own space was very clear to me, even before I started accumulating a closet. I had rearranged the rooms a multitude of times to accommodate my storage needs (books, a space for my makeup, floor space for large drawings, rearranging  furniture to eliminate dead spots where clutter could accumulate) to create a space that could fit both me and my partners needs. It became very clear to me that I needed my own space, or a space I had an understanding of what I controlled. 

These controlled spaces, I believe provided a respite for me. I believe the feeling of belonging in a household is deeply connected in the ability to control a space, and feel like at home and safe in it. I truly didn't have  this kind of a space until my closet grew past anything that could be accomodated without furniture of  fixtures.  In this apartment my space was always my growing lolita closet. As it was two rooms divided by sliding doors, there wasn't much of a space past a nook in a corner. I found out in this example that your space doesn't need to be big in any way. It could truly just be your desk, your vanity, closet. You don't have to stick to the idea of a "room" for you, but just a "node" for you. It's a place for you to just touch down, and be comfortable.
`(Images of my Closet "Node" from the Folsom Apartment)

In July of 2016, I moved in with my current boyfriend into his "studio" apartment in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco. The space comprises of a main living space, kitchen, bath and detached bedroom. The apartment itself is very compact, but it boasts being situated in a lively, safe neighborhood with  close adjacencies to large parks and shopping.

(Floor plan of Lyon Apartment)

I had moved in with a lot of items, but no large furniture. However, I still had way too many items for this space. I had hoarded all kinds of floral decorative elements to create an intimate space for myself. in previous apartments that were bigger. But to move into this space, I found myself throwing out a lot of useless items such as large jewelry trees, decorative boxes, trays, birdcages, etc.

Our space was challenging, but my boyfriend and I were convinced to be able to work together. He himself really loves efficient, clean and well designed spaces. With me always moving furniture to create the right flow of circulation and usable space, we knew that we were able to accomplish a space both of us could enjoy. 

As we had organized our space, I found myself unhappy in moments around the house. It wasn't a sense of organization, or furniture, or even a need for more storage space. In reality, what we had built for ourselves in that apartment was a space to co-exist. I find our living room to be a stunning example of living with another person. We had created a wonderful "public" space between us. What I had as my space was a couch and a coffee table that lifted up to be my desk, and a computer that was attached to the TV that was my workstation.

I later had come to understand that although we had an efficient living room where we both coexisted, it was not a space for me to retreat to. I had avoided the bedroom in apprehension owe would come together as a couple to push a concept onto  the space, like we had done to the living room. He had said he wanted the bedroom to be pure white, since the space was so small. However, throughout my time living there, the bedroom was also my closet and just a space to sleep in. In fact, it was an amazingly ignored space. 

Once I realized this, I quickly went to work, really recognizing the potential of the space so that I could have a moment of respite in my own apartment. I decorated enough the room and the walls enough to make me feel comfortable in my own space. Small accents such as my favorite postcards in frames, so when I woke up I could see my something joyful. I made sure to not feel ashamed of having my stuffed animals over the bed as it made me feel at home. I hung memorabilia and more postcards to line the wall to truly make it feel like a lived in space. After I had done this, it became immediately present that it had triggered a sudden change and understanding in how I would use and understand this space. 

Since the reclamation of this room, I would spend time in my space reading, playing mobile games before winding down and falling asleep. 

(Images of the current Bedroom)

I hope that this post helps everyone recognizing that organizing and coordinating with other space-sharers can be a huge compromise between multiple parties, and is important. However, I hope that you learn through my mistakes t hat you should never give up a space just for your self. You won't regret it, no matter how small it is .

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