I see myself in the black screen of my overpriced Apple laptop. I have yet to turn it on, but I see my slight acne breakouts on my rosy cheeks and dark rings under my eyes. The new transition to college has begun to wear me out. I have developed stress from the anxieties of meeting new friends, the increased work, and the change of my predictable high school lifestyle. I feel worn and look worn. I know I will have to resume my day once again. My weighted blankets engulf me in warmth, while my head slowly sinks into my cloudlike pillows. This makes it impossible for my body to even attempt to escape. The slight chill that rolls in my room, moves with urgency from my fifteen-year- old fan and the slight crack of the window that has a dusty white trim.
The window gives me a front facing view of Woodlawn Avenue, the street I have lived on since I was two. The street is a shortcut to the main drag from Abington Heights High School. I have always seen teenagers take Woodlawn Avenue, the quaint road, too fast. Woodlawn Avenue is a street filled with freshly cut grass, sporadically placed trees, and teenagers who call it home. My mother used to be concerned about my crossing the street, fearing that reckless teens would not pay attention to the children who aimlessly crossed the road.
I eventually got my driver’s license when I was seventeen years old, and the whole world seemed to expand. I began to have adventures driving from Scranton to Lake Ariel. I felt that I had become one of those reckless teens my mother used to warn me about. My 2006 black Subaru took me to my first dates, to high school, and to friends’ houses. I would later call my Subaru “Raven” due to her black tint and smooth shiny finish. Raven could keep up with my everyday commutes, which seemed to grow longer with each year I got older. As my first semester of freshman year continued, I started to spend up to ten hours at school. The days passed by faster than I could process.
Now in college, each week becomes one giant spill, which progressively becomes harder to mop up. I am given more due dates for projects, a limitation of fifteen weeks in a semester, and excessive amounts of information that I must learn to process, and I started looking for an area where the stress did not seem to build. Around 8:30 p.m. I roll out of the bottom parking lot of Penn State Worthington Scranton and see only five other cars in the lot. I eventually roll past Sheetz, Price Chopper, and I turn down the exit that leads to Interstate 81. There are a lot of trucks, but overall the highway is silent, other than the light hum coming out of my radio. When I reach Clarks Summit, I see the fast food joints lit up with fluorescent lights. The restaurants call people to food like bug zappers call flies to the death trap. As I approach Woodlawn Avenue, I realize how much I longed to be home on this Tuesday night. All day, I would imagine running into the sea-foam green paradise of my room, where I find my lilac candle to burn while I do homework, my Suffragette flag hanging above my bed, my closet full of squished clothes, and my Pride and Prejudice blanket lying on my bed, usually with a cat sprawled on top of it. All day, I’ve imagined myself running up my creaky stairs, down the hallway that’s filled with my sister’s and my senior pictures, to reach my safe heaven. My plan consists of going under the weighted blankets of my bed, and listening to Coldplay in my refuge.
My room used to feel like a prison. I realized I had developed pride, and thought it was strange to enjoy the comfort of my own home for too long. I thought being a homebody meant that a person was anti-social or had a very uneventful life. I used to want to go as far as I possibly could from my room. The last thing I wanted was the comfort of my own home. I had urges to escape my room, to see everyone, to do everything, but I would not give myself enough time to recharge. I had developed a prejudice that, unsocial, unambitious people stay in their rooms. I realized, despite my prejudice, that everyone needs time and space for themselves. I learned that constantly trying to escape my private life made me more stressed. I needed a space to debrief and to collect my thoughts before going back to my social and academic life.
Before I was able to drive, I would nag my parents to give me rides to my friends’ houses because I felt trapped in my own home. But as I grew up and developed more responsibilities from work and college, I wanted to stay home more. As my responsibilities grew, so did my appreciation for my home life. I started to appreciate sleep and personal space more. I realized all the benefits of having enough sleep. In fact, to the National Blood, Lung, and Heart Institute, “Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.” Sleep makes an individual healthier overall. (“Why Is Sleep Important?”)
My room has seen me grow up. I was little girl playing with my American Girl dolls. Then, eventually, I began my college homework in my room. My room has seen me laugh, seen me cry, and have all the emotions in between. My room was always my refuge, despite my not seeing it before. It helps me escape from the political turmoil, friend drama, and daily stresses of my life. My room calms me and helps me charge for the next day. As I walk into my room, I begin listening to Coldplay, pet my orange tabby, Casper, who is, unsurprisingly, sprawled out on my bed and then I slip into my heavy blankets and fall into the deep sleep I deserve.
“Why Is Sleep Important?” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Healthand Human Services, 7 June 2017. Web.10 Nov. 2017.