My Living Room Can Shape Shift: My Place and Why You Should Find Yours
As you can probably tell from the title, my living room can shape shift. Most of the time, it’s a living room. But in those instances when it’s not, it can be anything from a hospital when I’m sick, a therapy room for any one of our chosen family members, or a battleground where everything from boyfriends to best friends have been lost. A living room is, for most, always just a living room. But for my mother, myself, and our chosen family, my living room is much, much more than that.
I live in an apartment so in order to get to my living room, one must first come in the front door and walk past the relentlessly delicious smells coming from my mom’s cooking in the kitchen. Then, you walk into the open space of the room and are immediately welcomed into the circle of blanket nests that take up the entirety of the couch. As my three best friends- Elonna, Raelee, and Felicity- and I sit together, we can talk about anything from middle school to marriage. The almost constant chatter is often broken up by spurts of Netflix binging and the occasional plate of food coming off the metaphorical assembly line that my mom runs from the kitchen. These moments are the ones that mean the most to me.
These are the moments that define what my living room means to us. I have only lived in this apartment for about 5 years since my mom and I were homeless while I was in eighth grade, but no matter what living room we’ve had, it’s always, somehow, been the same. These instances are when I value my family the most. Having a living room like I do allows me to see the importance of my mom and my friends in my life. Honestly, it makes me see that nothing else really matters. This room basically saved us from being homeless because it’s the first place we lived after staying in our car for a few months. So although someone who is unfamiliar to my specific living room may not understand the meaning it has for my family and me, everyone can relate to the place where they feel most comfortable and loved. Everyone can relate to wanting a place where they just feel safe and at home.
That’s what my living room is to us, it is where we are welcome and it is where we belong. It is a window into the past 9 years of our lives, we’ve laughed here, we’ve cried here, and we’ve learned so many things about each other and ourselves in this room. But my living room hasn’t always been like this- it has been the tissue covered hospital that we needed when we all get each other sick, it has been the grieving place for my friends and I after my dog Suzie died, it has been a motel room where my mom and I still managed to have family dinner together, it has been the car backseat that my mom and I slept in when the motel night charge of $45 was more than we had- most importantly, it has been the sanctuary that we have all loved and will continue to love. This environment has changed me and my family in so many ways. We have grown into the people we are today and we would definitely not be the same without it.
My living room may be very different from yours, or it might be shockingly similar. Either way, the affect that a space like this can have on someone is indescribable. This room is so much more than just a room to us. And even though you may not be able to see the affect this room has on us, anyone should understand the importance of having a place like this for themselves.
Your place can be anywhere. It can be a living room, a classroom, an outside seating area, or even the backseat of a car. You too can have a place like this, as long as this place is somewhere that you feel completely comfortable, welcome, and loved.
Your place can be anywhere or anything, just make sure that it’s yours.