Most people have a home to go to at the end of the day, but not everybody has a special room in that home where they can discover who they are.
For me it’s my bedroom. It’s a place where I can learn who I am now and who I can become in the future. It’s a pretty ordinary room – just a queen bed, a desk, a chest of drawers, and a few posters taped to the wall – but it’s where I reflect on the importance of my actions and how I can learn from those actions and become a better person.
I feel safe and calm in my room, away from the chaos of the world. I play some of my favorite music. I sometimes sing, dance and let all my emotions out – emotions I’ve kept hidden from others, because I can’t find the right way to express them.
Sometimes I relax and just listen to the lyrics and try to understand what they’re saying to me. I begin to gain helpful insights into the events of the day: why things happen, and why people do the things they do. I start to accept that whatever happened is in the past and I can’t do anything about it. I begin to understand how the world works – and how I can have a greater effect on it. I reflect on where I’ve been, frustrated and upset of my failures while putting myself down, and think ahead to where I want to go, accepting those fails and persevering – and navigating how I need to get there.
My room is kind of a mirror, in which I see what I want to see, a strong, young Latina who will do anything to succeed, and not necessarily what everybody else sees. I see things about me that someone else might not. Some people will see only the superficial part of me, but if they become an important part of my life, I want to show them the best of me. I want them to understand I work hard to improve myself, and I drive myself to succeed: I am resilient and strong.
I also love to read in my room. A book can teach you many lessons. It can keep you in your room physically but take your mind anywhere. In reading, you can achieve a tranquility and understanding that you can’t find anywhere else. You can liberate your imagination. I think about what a story is trying to say to me. The book Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, for example, has taught me how we don’t always get what we want and that we have to go through many struggles in our lives to achieve our goals. It’s easier, I think, to understand the true message in a place that I can connect to, a place that I’ve made my own.
I’ve experienced a whole range of emotions in my room. I’ve laughed and cried, celebrated a birth in the family and mourned the death of grandparents.
My room is a place that has taught me many things. I learned to make good decisions, to let go of things that can’t be changed – and especially to learn from the past in order to make myself a better person in the future.
My room may be small, but it has had a huge impact on my life.