The bottom floor of my double-decker steel bunk bed was concealed beneath a layer of bedazzled curtains my mother had hand sewn for my 8th birthday. Upon entering, one would find the interior lining of the bunk was veiled in a trail of multicolored Christmas lights. Ticket stubs, safari posters, hello kitty wrappers, tempura paintings, and letters from distant relatives blanketed the walls held up with sticky tack and push pins. The bed frame was lined with particle board in order to provide optimal hard surface for the purpose of making arts and crafts. A small foam sleeping pad that smelled of Fritos took up two thirds of the bed frame. Atop the pad perched my extensive stuffed animal collection which mostly consisted of beanie babies and a various assortment of heart shaped pillows. The excess particle board surface was adorned with my Poly Pocket play sets, miniature polymer clay foods, crayons, paper, porcelain teacups, and a compact TV with obnoxiously long antennas that bent every which way. Each piece of my meticulously organized fort, had been thoughtfully put together by me. I would sit in the bunk and I would escape.
Upon waking in the wee hours of the morning, I would cautiously creep down my bedside ladder and crawl into my special space. Nestled in the comfort of my cotton fluff friends, beneath the dim yellow glow of my Fisher School flashlight, I would draw. Endless landscapes of purple canyons and marmalade waves would freely flow from my crayons. Watercolor paintings of lily pad ponds and gumball storms. I would enter my world. It was in these moments of solitude, in the wee hours of the morning, huddled in my safe place, that I would learn to express and create.
I no longer sleep in a bunk bed and yet reminisces of my original habitat still remain in my places of creation. My current desk is decorated with mementos and childhood knick knacks for inspiration and sometimes mere entertainment. The surrounding walls contain whimsical posters; brightly colored and depict images of children’s illustrations. A foam pillow sits on my desk chair to provide superior comfort when sitting stagnant for long periods of time. A dim yet sufficient light remains on my desk. All these beloved objects are fragments of what the hideaway was.
Now I understand that in creating a comfortable and treasured place wherever I am, I then enable myself to access the creative and authentic part of my being. I am the little girl waking from a dream and drawing the landscapes of my mind. I am venturing into the abyss, diving in the milky way, climbing a great redwood, because it is all apart of me. I no longer need a secret portal in order to access the places of imagination and insight because it is within. It is me.
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