On the Cusp of Graduation, the Fading of My Childhood Room

“They came to sit and dangle their feet off the edge of the world and after a while they forgot everything but the good and true things they would do someday.” –Brian Andreas

Exploring my childhood room is like doing an ethnographic study of myself. I wonder why I chose to frame the photos I did, and smell the super nostalgic yet strangely unfamiliar scents of my old body scrubs. Feeling the distinct water pressure in my shower, I flash back to the stressful mornings when I would have five minutes to get ready before high school. My closet is adorned with only pajama t-shirts and prom dresses, and my vanity drawers contain ugly jewelry I got from my bat mitzvah.

A college senior and fading memories in her childhood room

My office is filled with letters I got at camp, yearbooks, Judy Bloom books, old math notes and practice SAT tests. Looking at my white board and the inside jokes written by my friends, I speculate on what they might have meant, and remember all of the ridiculous nights we had in this room, and all of the prank calls we made. I smile at James Dean poster we all drunkenly kissed, that is now forever stained with red lipstick. A room once so filled with life now feels more like an untouched time capsule.

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The distance I feel from this space is discomforting. On one hand, I want to cling to the girl who occupied it desperately, because she was so much lighter, her world was wide open. On the other, she was immature, and naïve and unsure of herself. I guess she is still unsure of herself, but in a way that feels nothing like high school insecurity. This self-doubt is deeper, darker. She wonders no longer if she is pretty enough to get the attention of the upperclassman boy, but rather if she is smart enough to compete with other job applicants. Tough enough to make it in New York. Strong enough to succeed.

I never doubted that some day, I would do many good and true things. I have been dangling my feet off the edge of the world since I learned to read. I knew that I would write and I would eventually write words powerful enough to make people feel the way I felt when I read my favorite authors: blissful, thoughtful, comforted. Now, lost in an endless cycle of networking and resume building, it takes me a second to remember why I wanted to write in the first place.

Maybe part of why I am uncomfortable in this room, a room bursting with hope and wide-eyed wonder, is that it makes me feel ashamed of my lack of achievements, or more specifically, lack of a job. Countless hours of Sex and the City watched in this bed, countless journal entries and school essays written here, I was sure that when I entered the real world I would enter through New York: writing, looking fabulous and kicking ass in Manolos. The walls, the old me in the pictures, they know these dreams. And every time I enter with them unfulfilled, they are disappointed.


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About Sophie Burton

Sophie Burton is a graduate from the University of Michigan, pursuing a career in magazine journalism. She loves peanut butter, yoga, singing in the car and her baby sister.

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