Life isn’t an ‘X-files’ collage

Jessica Wageman

My path to Kent State was a long one, about 3,000 miles to be exact. I know for a fact that some people in my hall went home every weekend. I didn’t get to see my home once during Spring semester, and when the prodigal daughter finally returned home to Portland, she found it was impossible for her to look at her room in the same way she had.

When I opened the door after my four-month absence, it became apparent that I’d been living in a dollhouse room, with my tiny bed and tiny desk and room full of kiddie knickknacks. My bookshelves held the volumes I’d learned to read on, dusty, moth-eaten cloth dolls with shining glass beads for eyes, a tiny Beatrix Potter tea set. Trophies from third-grade baseball tournaments. I hate baseball. I laid on my little wrought-iron bed under a celestial mobile I’d been given as a gift when I was in middle school and thought about how surreal it is to realize you’ve grown up overnight.

So I went through my room and got rid of everything. My desk that I’ve had since I was five: gone. All of my saved AIM conversations from middle school: gone. Even my legendary wall of collaged “X-files” pictures and newspaper clippings: gone. I thought I would start crying as I ripped down the meticulously saved scraps of paper that I had so lovingly pasted to my door, but it was easy. Throwing away my old photographs of elementary school crushes was easy. Throwing away all of my old clothes was easy.

I’d been saving all of these things because I thought they were reminders of my extraordinary and special childhood. My childhood wasn’t special or extraordinary, it was as mundane and stupid as everyone else’s, and the things worth remembering will stick in my mind. Everything that needs a photograph, a scrap of paper, a scribbled note or a piece of furniture for reference is bullshit. Sometimes you have to get messy to facilitate change. Viva la revolución.

I was clinging to my old life because I thought I loved it, but after being gone so long and looking back on all the tangible garbage I’d kept to remind me of it … I hate my old life.

I hate the mountains of stuff. I hate the dusty Venetian blinds I broke off piece by piece while breaking up with Danny on the phone or while my parents were fighting or while I was crying about liking some stupid idiot who didn’t like me back. I haven’t changed my room since we moved into our house. Trapped in my nine-foot cube are thousands and thousands of reminders that for eight years I’ve hidden from life behind a cloud of useless possessions. Taking out the trash is liberation.

The new goal for my room is minimalism.

Jessica Wageman is a sophomore justice studies and psychology major and a guest columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].