What did your teenage room tell about you?

This morning a friend (technically she’s my mom’s friend, but I’ll gladly claim her as my own) mentioned how much she liked my childhood bedroom (which technically I can’t call “my” room since it was shared with two little sisters).  It was good to hear that at least one person enjoyed it — I was never so fond of the situation, and I’m not so sure my sisters were, either.

You see, my family moved around a lot, but at this particular home my two older brothers were graced with their own rooms and we three sisters were given a large space to coinhabit as kindly as we could. For me, a pre-teen loner who desperately craved privacy, slumber partying with a seven- and a five-year-old was anything but ideal. Inviting friends over was out of the question because there was no secluded spot to gush over crushes, flip through Seventeen magazines, and watch PG-13 videos without little peeping eyes and eavesdropping ears following our every move. How embarrassing! I felt certain that my parents, by cruelly forcing me into such shameful sleeping arrangements, had doomed me to unpopularity. (Clearly, I wasn’t such a shining example of gratitude at that stage…)

Fortunately our father liked to flip houses, which meant I soon upgraded to my very own bedroom, complete with my own desk, my own couch, even my own closet. Independence, individuality, separateness – I treasured these during my teenage years, and was ecstatic to finally have some semblence of space apart. At my request, Dad so lovingly painted a skyscape on my new vaulted ceilings (ooh la la!) and together we hung multiple bulletin boards covered corner to corner with ME expressed in the form of bat mitzvah and birthday party photo buttons, too-cool-for-school concert ticket stubs, and numerous other pieces of priceless memorabilia. After all, how could a girl possibly throw away a rose corsage from her sophomore spring formal?

I am intrigued by the many ways a person’s room reflects his or her identity, values, stage of development, etc., which is a concept richly illustrated through Rania Matar’s recent series entitled A Girl in Her Room: Portraits of Teenage Girls’ Inner Worlds Through Their Bedroom Interiors. The photos are fabulous. I’ve included a few of my favorites, but do yourself a favor and give Matar’s full portfolio a good, long glance.

What did your teenage room tell about you?

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