What My Home Says About Me

Diego Rivera - Detroit Industry Murals

My home says that it’s not my home. My home says that I live with a boy who, admittedly, has no sense of personal style. He owns the house; I just live in it. There’s very little decoration and everything has a purpose. As long as it functions within normal parameters, that’s enough for my roommate. It doesn’t need to be fancy or even look good. In fact, little effort at all is made to ensure that it does look good.

On the other hand, my room is all me. It says that I like the color blue as the curtains, rugs and bed coverings are all matching hues. It says that I like to read a lot as, crammed into a rather small space, are rather a lot of books. There are just as many dvd’s and cd’s scattered about as well.

My room says that I like art as the walls are covered in it. There are prints by artists like Mark Ryden and Salvador Dalí, and a print of one half of the mural that Diego Rivera painted on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts. When I was young, poor and lived in Detroit, I spent much time gazing at that mural since, at that time, the Detroit Institute of Arts was donation based, nicely air-conditioned and conveniently located just down the street. I spent many a sweltering afternoon with Diego Rivera and friends. Going to the art museum was cheaper than a movie. I knew the whole place by heart and Diego’s mural atrium was one of my favorite rooms in the whole building.

Diego Rivera - Detroit Industry Murals
Diego Rivera – Detroit Industry Murals

There are paintings and sculptures done by friends, and works of art I happened to find throughout the years. I have some hand-crafted art done by unknown artists working for minimum wage and struggling to feed their families. Some of my artworks are worth some money, others are valueless, but they all are worth something to me. I would never sell them anyway. Some of my own art hangs there from back in the day when I was a regular artist who worked in regular artist media instead of on a computer. I have priceless wood carvings and sculptures done by my dad who is an artist in his own right.

On another bookshelf, there is a collection of oddities like a single femur and a single spur (both of which I already discussed in the post The Best Kind of Gifts), a bottle of red goo and a tiny cement block atop of which lives a little, angry Viking head carved out of stone that a friend bought for me in Minnesota. There are also more natural exhibits like rocks from various places on Earth, sand, shells and even a small tree branch. These things remind me of the places from which they came. I look at the little branch, unknowingly illegally plucked from a eucalyptus tree, and it reminds me of the time a friend tricked me into climbing a mountain. She knew I’d never climb a mountain otherwise, so she told me it was just a hike.

There are remnants of my childhood, which I don’t really remember. I have my first big girl cup. It’s a small, ceramic coffee cup with a family of rabbits living happily underneath a banner of the letters in my name written in gold leaf. I don’t remember using that cup, but it’s in my room just the same. There’s also my first piggy bank, which is actually a lion. That lion has been with me most of my life and he looks blankly but kindly down on me from a shelf in my room just as he has always done.

There are pictures in antique frames of relatives I never knew. There’s an oval picture of three of my grandmother’s siblings when they were babies. There are pictures of my great-grandfather and my grandfather, neither of whom I ever met. Also on display is my grandfather’s gold and mother of pearl pocket watch engraved with his name and the date 1937. Next to that is my other grandfather’s Finnish knife, apparently given to all Finnish boys at an early age. It’s contained within a leather sheath and has Finnish words written on the blade. I have no idea what it says. It’s still very sharp even though it probably hasn’t been sharpened in decades. The watch and the knife are two of my most prized possessions.

All of the things that make up me live in that little room. They go wherever I go. The room is comfortable, cozy and inviting. It has all the things that mean the most to me even though most of them are valueless to anyone else. It says that material goods are unimportant to me unless they hold sentimental value. Nearly everything in that little room holds sentimental value and everything has a story. My room says that I have lived an interesting life in which I have collected various treasures and there’s room for more. It says that I’m not done living it yet.

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