The land that we live on in the Philippines has been ours for about 20 years now. The house? It’s been up for all of 3 years. A mere 1000-or-so days before today, there was only wild vegetation growing in an otherwise vacant lot. Coconut trees, bananas trees, aratalis trees, wild herbs and cascades of emerald ivy coated this place in foliage. Now, little is left of the virgin soil that had once taken up the whole space.
When my parents designed this house, they had in mind, first and foremost, that it would someday be their retirement home. They envisioned leisurely afternoons spent watching TV, getting massages and manis/pedis, and generally lounging around. They also envisioned many visits from my brother and I. So in addition to the master bedroom, with its private bathroom and walk-in closet, there are two smaller bedrooms that share a bathroom. One bedroom is currently my brother’s room (as it was meant to be). The other bedroom, which was supposed to be my bedroom, is currently a second guest room (the first one is on the first floor, near the maid’s quarter’s).
And this room? The one that was supposed to be mine? My mom had been sleeping in it while staying here, and when she left, I missed her so much and wanted so badly to be near her that I went to sleep in the room. That’s when I fell in love with the room and its palette of purples, pinks and mauves, and its curtains with flecks of gold, and its ample supply of cold breezes. So you know what? I’m claiming it.
In this room, I can shut off the world and remember what it means to be just me. I can weed out the distractions from the important parts. I can remember the importance of having extra time. I can feel the tension and stress melt away. I can remember what it was like to be a single and child-less woman with only herself to think of. I can feel the lines of my mind and body solidifying and becoming my own again. I can distance myself from the raucous of voices competing for my attention: not just those people who need me, but the different parts of me.
Sometimes, I get so caught up in doing that I forget who it is that I am. Does that make sense? I feel like I have a script: all the things that I must do and say and be, and I generally work off-script. That is to say, I act without having to second-guess myself, because I know what I should be doing, I know my motivation, I know what I’m about.
But sometimes, I lose my way and I need a chance to pick up the script and remember where I’m at, and why I’m doing what I’m doing, and what got me here, and where I’m supposed to go next, and what I’m supposed to do next. And that’s when I come into this room. And lie down. And forget about the stupid games that people play, and all the drama of family life, and the hardships of being in a couple, and the things I pile onto my plate to keep my mind off the issues that really matter.
It’s here, in this room, that I take apart the pieces of me, reconfigure my life, and throw away the bits I don’t need.
Because, sometimes, ambition is just a guise for denial, noise is only a barrier from hearing what you really think, and all of the particles of emotion that you feel on a day-to-day basis need time to settle in the bottom of a shot glass. Or a tall glass of chilled mineral water. Or whatever you happen to fancy.
In this room, I recover from the insanity of awesome that is my life. I lie down on the best mattress ever, stare at my harried reflection in the mirror, and feel like the rock-star princess that I am, calming down, revving up, and preparing for whatever comes next.