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When I was a little girl, I truly lived in a wonderland that was my brain.

When I close my eyes and picture myself in my bedroom, a million stories and memories wash-over me and I am instantly nostalgic for the wondrous worlds in which I once lived.

I can see myself:

– 16 years old, with window wide-open on a cold, winter’s day, room temperature lingering somewhere around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, listening to a Mark Pinkus album (piano music) on my cassette player, room extremely organized and tidy, lying on my bed writing.

– 12 years old, cuddled-up on an old arm chair I had in my room for a time, eating a concoction of microwaved marshmallows, chocolate chips and butter while watching “Fievel Goes West” or “WKRP in Cincinnati”

– 13 years old, trying to clean and organize a messy, disastrous, room while listening to the “Reality Bites” soundtrack, rewinding “Stay” by Lisa Loeb over and over and over again while singing at the top of my lungs. Eventually, I give-up on cleaning and go-about creating interesting outfits from my wardrobe. I pluck-out a floral peasant dress, leggings, black Doc. Martens and a jean jacket, sit at my desk and start to sketch different fashion ideas and outfits. Maybe I’ll be a fashion designer one day.

– 11 years old, NKOTB posters plastering my walls, wearing lots of neon, a bucket full of empty peanut shells before me as I continue to shell and eat peanut after peanut while listening to “How to Eat Fried Worms” on book tape.

– 10 years old, watching “The Sound of Music” while I cleaned the giant china cabinet that my Mom had brought with us when we moved-in with my Stepdad, and had been stored in my room, pretending that I was a cleaning lady working at the house of some wealthy, handsome, romantic man.

– 15 years old, baritone in lap, music stand in front of me, practicing scales, arpeggios, exercises, and songs until my lips began to tingle. Dreaming of being a famous musician and picturing myself as an older lady, still playing the baritone, and extremely fulfilled with my life.

– 18 years old, crying. Sad. Alone. Depressed. Lying on my bed in a dimly lit room, writing even darker poetry in my journals while listening to “At This Point in My Life” by Tracy Chapman on repeat.

– 8 years old , lying on the floor with my Children’s Worldbook Encyclopedias strewn-out on the floor in front of me as I researched the solar system and geology and created little ‘homework projects’ and assignments for myself. Eager to learn, to soak-up information, create work of which I could be proud, and trying to achieve a goal of doing a project about every subject contained therein.

All of these moments, and so many more, come to life in my mind when I think of them. I was so consumed in whatever I was doing at the time. I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia or just how my imagination works, but these seemingly normal moments in my life all hold massive amounts of emotion, thought, feeling, and emotional pull to them.

I have recently watched the movie “Inside Out” and I wonder if the reason that these memories have such a strong place in my memory and bring with them all the things mentioned above is because, for whatever reason, these are “core memories”. I have always pictured my brain as a large filing room full of shelves, cabinets, boxes, safes and file folders. When I have to remember something, my mind actually has a whole system of locating where the information was stored and, depending on which part of storage area it is in, a different way it is kept, retrieved and opened. So, I really dug the “Inside Out” perspective.

For some reason, these memories of me in my old bedroom, all had a deep impact on my development. I think-back to each of these moments as ‘special moments in time’. There is a file in my brain that ‘pings’ every time I pull one of these memory files from the archives.

I refer to a few of these memories at times I need to “go to my happy place”. I will close my eyes, feel the cold breeze coming through my window, the smell of fresh, winter air, the sound of piano music in the background, the organization and cleanliness of a bright room and the soft, warm, blankets on my bed and feel instantly relaxed.

Or, I will close my eyes, hear “My Sharona” playing in the background, see a flutter of creative outfit ideas and designs around my room, experience the thrill of originality once again, and come out of it inspired and energized.

I guess I still have moments like this when I’m in my room. They happen less often as I am married, so share the space, have a child, and often don’t spend much time in there when not sleeping or cleaning.

But, I still have those moments when I feel totally present in the moment and I wonder if I will be looking-back on these moments in 20 years and feeling the same way I do now about the things that happened in my room.