I don’t live in my childhood bedroom anymore. I haven’t lived in my childhood home for nearly six years. My family sold that house in Caldicot to move to Abergavenny for my mum’s job, where I gained a new, smaller room. I also gained a room at my grandparents, where I stayed to complete my final year of Sixth Form study, and flitted my last teenage year between them both. In my first year as an adult, I stayed in the first place of my own; a small but comfortable university halls of residence shared with other bundles of youthful energy (which in hindsight was never really my own, it was always the University’s). Then there was a year spent balancing my time between a damp infested cupboard of a bedroom in a student house, and the double bed in my boyfriend’s room in his student house. This was followed by a year of adjusting to cohabitation in an ex-council flat, followed by a year of learning to manage without a maintenance loan, which leads me up to the happy position I am in now.
I’ve recently stayed in that teenage room in Abergavenny – twice in the space of a month, in fact. The first being a pit stop before a friend’s birthday in Cardiff, and the second being a pit stop after a family member’s funeral. In the first instance, I walked into my small, single bedroom, my bag ladened with makeup and alcohol for the next day’s birthday celebration, and was hit with a mixture of feelings; nostalgia and anxiety the main ones bursting through. I thought of seventeen year old Rosie, of her walking into this bedroom, her bag ladened with school books and clothes from a school week at her grandparents. What would she have thought of this Rosie? As I walked into that bedroom again, this time after the funeral, heels in hand, my smartly done hair unravelling, those feelings hit me again. The girl who used to live in this room is so different to the woman who now stays in it.
This small, beige bedroom has seen so many important changes in my life. The first time it saw me, brown haired and sixteen, I strode into it’s empty shell, the room devoid of furniture and emotion, and starting crying sad, angry, hormonal, bitter tears. I was angry at moving, I didn’t want to leave my home with it’s warm colours, and my bedroom with the records and instruments on the wall. I wanted nothing to change. The room saw me again for moving day, and I curled up on the mattress on the floor, my headphones playing friendly songs, as I watched the unfamiliar headlights of the cars pass over the curtain rail. I was no longer the angry sixteen year old who grieved the loss of her bedroom situated over the conservatory, with the view over the garden and the hen house. I was still certainly emotional, I was still unsure of the house, but I had grown out of the bitterness and the sadness. In those short few months, I had grown up a considerable amount. That was the first big change the room saw in me.
I spent all summer in that room, decorating it in the ripped out magazines and pictures of being seventeen; NME, hand drawn notes by school friends, van Gogh postcards. I draped fairy lights happily around the room, candle light dripping and the scent filling the air. As my final year of school hit, the room saw me return every weekend from living with my grandparents and attending school. It saw me returning ladened down with books and thoughts and teenage worries. It saw fears of deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up and the despair of mock tests and exams. It saw music practice and shy singing and dancing to music I had discovered myself. It saw rejections of a child from drama school, and acceptances of a woman into university.
When I went to University, the room saw me less and less. At my first return at Christmas, it saw the confidence, the intelligence, the dedication I had picked up from studying what I loved, which seeped into my everyday life. As the University terms went on, each time I came home, the woman who left was different to the woman who came back. It saw the giddiness of first love and the first inklings of anxiety. It saw me black eyed with insomnia and overjoyed with my first set of grades. It saw first fights and first resolutions. It saw me weak from my first trial of antidepressants, it felt me rip down pictures and pages and memories from the walls as friendships fell and ruined me. It saw me forgive and remember the good times, it saw my happiness grow and give back. This room has seen me physically change, no longer a child with ringed eyes and black nails and forced straightened hair, to a woman with curls and curves and bright yellow skirts. It has heard my voice go from shy and shaking to melodic and loud. It’s seen me become the woman young Rosie would have wanted to be.
This room has seen the most drastic changes in me. The ideals I held, the friendships I now cherish, the future I want, the person I want to be – all of this has been moulded through the changes this life has given me. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had people I love turn their backs on me for reasons I will never know, I broke my own will and health by not making time to rest, my creativity being forced back by stressors and situations. Each of these moments in time changed my life, whether that be in an earth shattering pronouncement or in a way I didn’t even notice. It’s not just the bad moments that made a change in me, it’s most certainly the good moments too. Falling in love (romantically and platonically), going on a holiday I payed for myself, making music with people I care for.
There has been such an immense change in the sixteen year old who first walked through the white wooden door frame of that bedroom, and the twenty two year old that walked through there last week. Every negative hit, positive whirl, every sleepless night and work filled day has made me who I am today. I would not change the moments that changed me for the world.