When I was 14 years old, I had a room of my very own for the first time. My hometown Orlando Magic had drafted an electric rookie named Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway that year, and I had fallen in love with his freedom and rhythm on the court, his body swift and striking.
I plastered the freshly painted walls of my new personal kingdom with images of Penny and the Magic. Nike swooshes. Even a few manatee.
In the years that came before, I had kept most of the images and colors and symbols inside of my head, not quite sure if there was ever space to express them. Why would anyone care how the reds blushes oranges seemed to melt together, just behind my eyes, most of the time? I shared a home with five other beings, pets not included. Where would all of the BOOMS BEEPS PSSSH DOOM DOOMS find a home if they were to ever escape? Would they be safe?
The experience of manifesting all of my interests, my passions, all of the parts of me onto the physical space of my childhood room might have been one of the first ways that I embodied what Carl Rogers called congruence. He believed that we were most alive when our experience of ourselves was matched by others' experience of us. Those living in congruence are able to live authentically and genuinely, maximize their own unique potential, and feel safe enough to do so.
I am now 37. For the past several weeks, I have been settling into my own art studio space for the very first time. Since I am sharing the space with a generous artist and new friend who has been here for a good while, I tip-toed cautiously at first, moving supplies in slowly while trying to feel how I might inhabit this new world.
Today, without quite knowing it, I returned to that boyhood ritual. It started with a wolf, my parents, my friends. And then the wall began to grow once again. My mother and father are so alive with youth and ease in these old, fraying Polaroids.
I just finished and stepped away, took it all in. These people. These words. Colors and lines. This perfect projection beaming from the center of my chest. Inside, outside, inside.
BOOM. BEEP. DOOM DOOM. I am.