A Room of One's Own
This newsletter is listening to Slightly Hung Over by Blues Delight on repeat.
Dec 23 ‘21:
My favourite thing about my room at home is that moonlight streams in through the window and forms soft patterns across my bed. For an insomniac like me, watching the white and black pattern on my body while feeling the balmy breeze of the night is the highlight of being up late, and what eventually puts me to sleep. My parent’s house is located in a sparsely populated area - most of whom are older people and young children as the young adults (some whom I grew up with) have left home.
Tonight, my room is dark save for the moonlight, and my sisters’ boxes of cloth make out dark silhouettes in the room. Since I’m not home most of the time, they have turned the room into a storage space for their clothes and books. I can hear the faint noise of a faraway church doing a vigil. I know this noise will get increasingly louder as the end of the year approaches. I’m spending 10 days here and I look forward to lounging, sleeping, reading and writing.
Narrator: She neither read nor wrote. All she did was lounge, sleep and eat.
I moved again. And my room in Ilorin is unlike the one at home with its white walls and white lights, brown wardrobe, brown bedspreads, brown curtains and a sturdy office desk. Spacious and airy, I tell my friends the theme of my room is intentionally chosen white and brown. I had asked the painter to come put on two more coats of white on the two he did earlier but thankfully he talked me out of it. A friend thinks the white colour makes my room sterile but in contrast I have never felt this much love/ comfort in a space I have now.
My current read is Virginia Woolf’s A Room of her own, and here she says “A room of one’s own is also the music. This room is made of walls, floors, windows, and ceilings. In a way, the room is also made of birds that chirp outside the window, a child’s cry coming from across one wall, the sounds of love being made across another. A room of one’s own also means peace. Especially by night, unmovable, the deepest it can be. One’s own room is the money needed to afford it. And that moment of turning the key, opening the door to see first the night’s glow, hazy through the milky net curtains, and then the table, your desk, untouched papers, scattered just like we left them. And then comes this thick, sweet warmth, pooling around the heart.” This surmises all I want to say regarding loving my space.
Before this year, I lamented and told everyone who cared to listen that I'll no longer be in contact with most of my friends. It was a physical ache knowing that the people whose lives had been intricately linked with mine were going on to new phases; housejobs, grad school and a couple out of the country. However, since this year started, I have met three new people who are now so dear to me, and one particularly is a music buff. Even on days when we are too busy or tired to talk or check-up, we send Spotify links to one another, and the music in my room never stops. A room of one’s own is also the music. And is also this thread of friendship, I say.
In my compound, there are a couple of neighbours I don't talk to, save for good mornings et al. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I am obsessed with Hozier. I had been belting out his songs this particular afternoon, and imagine my shock when in the evening ( and even for the next couple of days) my neighbour had him on repeat. This happened regarding Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up and a couple more songs for me to know it’s not a coincidence. I have also done the same for songs coming from their room, setting my phone in the direction of their rooms and asking google what song was playing and then adding to my queue. But this is not only the music that makes up my room, nowadays it includes the meow of my cat - an adorable ball of fur Adeena, whom I like to think has a similar personality to mine - and the sound of her playing with yet another pen or my earrings.
A room of one’s own also means peace. It’s about saying I want to be alone right now and having a physical space where I can make that manifest. Like I told my friend last week, having my own space in the way I want it with my white walls and brown sturdy desk has been the most luxurious thing in my adult life.
One’s own room is the money needed to afford it. And that moment of turning the key, opening the door to see first the night’s glow, hazy through the milky net curtains, and then the table, your desk, untouched papers, scattered just like we left them. And then comes this thick, sweet warmth, pooling around the heart.
In the book which is more of an essay tbh, Woolf started talking about women and fiction. Women and writing. Not just the type of writing women are typically interested in, but rather what makes a woman choose the type of writing she engages in. Although I have not finished this book, the crux of the book is - a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. This is not merely the physical space but some sort of freedom - or a semblance of the same. This is one reason I am grateful for the gift of writing, but even more for being able to make money off it. One own’s room is the money needed to afford it, and in so doing I have amassed a fairly significant room of this. And the moment of turning the key? I've been going out more recently, and even though it’s something I truly enjoy, I always look forward to going home. No matter how late I get outside, I would rather go back to my own house than crash at a friend’s, and it truly helps that these days I have Adeena staring up at the door once I turn the key on the other side. Makes going home all the more pleasant.
While this might seem a roundabout way to just tell y’all about my room, the main point here is the importance of claiming one’s own space. Not in the metaphorical sense of it but rather in the real physical space of it. A place where you can take yourself and be the barest truest version of yourself. A place that you are not by default accessible to other people, where you choose who you allow into, somewhere where other things happen to you that is solely yours, can hear your own thoughts, a place you get to bring flowers and scented candles to and decide where each of these goes. It is probably something we do not actively make decisions about - especially for women. Of course, there is the economic hindrance of this, but it does not always have to be a plain allocated house. And the decision of it is the first important step.
If you are reading this, you are probably in my age range, and this is the age of transience. It would be worthwhile to think about having your own physical space, away from your partner and/or housemates/neighbour - be it a study/office/studio/tent/ whatever form it might come in - where other people are not allowed to interrupt you and where you get to do deep focused work.
Also, because of course, I'll use quotes by some of my favourite writers to buttress my point, Sylvia Plath, in her wisdom wrote: If I did not have this time to be myself, to write here, to be alone, I would somehow, inexplicably, lose a part of my integrity.
It’s been so long since I wrote anything here and I don't even know where to start or what to put here regarding personal life updates. One thing tho, thank you for sticking around, Beloved. And for everyone who checked up on me while I was awol, and the new subscribers! Welcomeee x. It’s always surprising to get notifications of new subscribers even though I hadn't updated here in over four months, phew.
So yeah, I am back in school. I had some finals which I passed last year yayyy. Started a new level and rotating a bunch of postings - currently on Radiology now. Can’t lie, it’s been stressful. I mean, I knew it was going to be but I guess I didn't reckon how preoccupied it was going to keep me.
I was supposed to send this out on Friday, February 11th, cause it was supposed to be the first anniversary of me getting the bad news, but I was mentally paralysed that day I just rescheduled editing this.
Did I mention I have a cat now? She is playing a game where she puts a paw on my keyboard and I dramatically swat it away. She’s here on my IG story almost caught in the act. Her name is Adeena Iteoluwakiishi Amiireoluwa. I tried giving her peppered stuff but she doesn't like it so we might need to recall the Yoruba names and stick to Adeena alone, tueh.
I am having a much better year than I thought I would - especially in regards to interpersonal relationships and I love this for me, Alhamdulillah. I am trying to do more of leaving myself open ...to options, to choices, to not be too set upon a path that I fail to smell the flowers. To say the important yeses and necessary nos, to not limit myself or define myself by one thing (even though my course is so jealous and I barely have enough time to do the mundane acts of living) but we move or something like that.
In my last issue, I mentioned writing a piece that I was particularly proud of. It’s been months, but I never got to share it here, so here you go. It’s a feature piece on Al Jazeera about the Human eggs 'industry' in Nigeria. It is my most read article and my favourite journalistic piece of writing. You should read it here.
One more thing, I really enjoy writing this. I hope you are doing well too, and the new year is shaping up to be all (or at least, most) of what you want it to be.
Write to me if you can, Beloved.
I am editing this while out with Nusaybah of Love letters from Nusaybah, so any grammatical errors in this should be chalked up to that, please and thank you🥰