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The Room of My Heart This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The first memory I have of this world is of a white room— pure, bright, and unsullied. Light fluttered through the window and danced across the floors and over to my crib. I lay there in awe, trying to take it all in. It was beautiful, but at the same time, that room that had seemed to glow was also empty. There was nothing but the window, the crib, and myself.
My current room is something considerably different. Dim light engulfs the room as mold creeps slowly across the corners of the ceiling. Posters, calendars, papers and shelves hide the walls. Bookcases and cupboards and drawers press themselves up against any open wall space, while clothes and books manage to find their way onto the spread of the floor. It’s messy and confused and could use a good vacuuming, but it’s mine.

At times I think people are like their rooms. I myself was once a room clean and bright and untouched by the world, but empty nonetheless. Now my heart has become filled with things; miscellaneous memories and likes and dislikes and thoughts all built up over the years, like a packrat collecting various knick-knacks and expenditures to fill up more and more space over time. Some parts of me are thrown away to make space for new things to be embraced, and I cherish these pieces I’ve collected, even if some I feel could be done without, but as time goes on you can’t help but let some things go. People change, for better or worse, and that is one undeniable reality.

Occasionally I think that had I stayed a child, I could have remained in my state of innocent ignorance and lived blindly in a daze of happiness. Had I not changed, I could live without grief over the past, weariness of the present, and dread of the future, for if one never changed, one would not need to fear anything. Still, would I really want that kind of existence? Would I want to live in that state of unawareness, not striving for anything or even desiring to, with only the mentality of a child?
There’s a fine line between existing and living, and though people strive to live to the utmost extent, sometimes people lose their way in the labyrinth of stuff that’s built up over the years. Despite all this, as humans we strive to find our way through everything life’s thrown at us, all that has built up on its own accord merely by the waves of time splashing over us, and through all this we manage to change. As a child, I adored animals, considered becoming a vegetarian, and was a ridiculously open person in general. As I grew older, I distanced myself from these things, from other people, and it wasn’t even something I had consciously done. I linger on that shimmering memory of a past me and sometimes wish I could return to that time, but I’ve come to accept that who I am now is a different person than before.

Once when I was younger and my family had to move to a new house, I asked, “If home is where the heart is, am I leaving my heart behind?” I understand now that our heart is our home, and it travels with us everywhere. The room I have now may be different from that pure, bright, unsullied room, and it may have become cluttered and confused, but it is still mine. I still need to organize that room of mine, until some day it becomes even more beautiful than that radiant room from long ago. I’ve moved away from that old house, that old room, and the room I have now is different than before. For better or for worse, I’ve changed, and whether or not I’m right, I’d like to believe it’s been for the better.





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