Room of One’s Own
Serendipity is so exciting! I heard the expression “She Shed” for the first-time last week at a meeting and then within two days heard it again!
A space intentionally created to nurture and nourish your spirit is something I think everyone should have. Size doesn’t matter but the intention does. While talking with some women recently about the concept of She Shed or Room of her Own someone said one of the men in her life said,“isn’t the whole house the She Shed”? My response is this, do not mistake responsibility for proprietorship. Women in 2019 still do the vast majority of the domestic light and heavy lifting no matter what their living situation.
A room of her own as I define it, is a space intentionally created for the wellness of her creative force – her body, mind and spirit. If this happens to be her whole home then that is fantastic and aspirational but unfortunately not the norm. It is remarkable to me that the themes of Virginia Woolf’s – A Room of One’s Own are still so relevant today.
Our creative and spiritual needs are often placed second if placed at all. Kitchen tables, kitchen islands, the dining room table, a box on the bottom stair or under the coffee table or sofa, teetering on the edge of night stands. They become afterthoughts that cohabit with the things and activities in a home that will come first, like meals, laundry and school or work projects. We shuffle to the side our needs for creative expression and space to think and reflect and hope someday to have the space for them.
Recently, at DSID we have been working on a project for a woman who is kind, generous and devoted to her work of fundraising for the Ride for the Cure. She is inspiring and like all women with a purpose she uses most of her time focusing on the work she is doing. So that is where we come in to help create a space in her basement for her to do her work and to nurture her spirit as well as provide a space for the occasional overnight guest.
In my own life we recently moved our office/studio from my home into a new space that we lovingly call “plump space” because it isn’t actually plump at all… it is a sweet little laneway house and we love it. Tiny but mighty with potential! This left me with an empty room in my home and more space in general. So rare is an empty room in my life that to be totally honest it overwhelmed me. I raised four children – and then downsized to spaces from 500 to 1000 square feet, this does not usually add up to empty rooms. I noticed that my first reaction to the empty room was to start planning what I will put in it. A sofa, a sofa bed, a murphy bed, the TV?
Then it occurred to me to ask myself what do I need from the empty room? What would feel great and what would serve me? Wow! I teach and preach this in my work as an interior designer – what use of your space will serve you? But somehow applied to my own life it was revolutionary since my default thinking is always – what would make everyone else comfortable? What would my family want or need when they come here? What might a guest need? As I grapple with this issue of what do I want?
I have left the room empty and I find myself standing in it sometimes feeling delighted by it and at the same time confused by it. But what I am clear on is that it will be a room of my own. Which is so exciting to me and reminds me how important this is. It is my time to define what will inspire and nurture me – give me space to be. To reflect and dance or stretch or just sit on the floor and meditate.
What might you need to create this for yourself? What intention would you need to set for yourself? What tangible things would you need? A small alter to sit by and take a few moments – a blanket or yoga mat to stretch out on before bed – a chair of your own with a few things near it that make you feel good. What physical changes might be possible in your home to chisel out some space for yourself?