There is a room in the basement of my house that is mine. The sea glass blue walls calm, and pops of cherry red invigorate the senses and ignite my creativity. Everything I need is in that room: a comfy chair, books, my sewing machine, fabric and yarn, and paints, too, to create art both good and bad. An enormous craft table graces the center of the room, and a seldom watched TV sits in the corner. My computer is always there.
Not so long ago, I spent almost every waking hour in this room in the basement. I was safe there in the confines of those 4 walls, isolated from the real world, but able to chat with my online friends whenever I wanted. You see, I had a shop on the craft-selling website, Etsy, and had made friends with a supportive group of women who all cheered each other on in their endeavors.
The shop gave me justification to spend so much time in the room, because it needed tending to. When I sold something that I had spent hours making, excitement coursed through my veins, and my hands shook as I packed that precious item, so much a part of me. Oh, sure, I made about 15 cents an hour, but that was fine because who was I to deserve more.
As days, weeks and months went by, I kept to myself down in my room because I was “busy”. I had a “purpose”. And I didn’t notice the changes until it was impossible not to.
The walls had faded to gray, darker first at the ceiling. This darkness crept down the walls like a suffocating blanket. My shelves of colorful fabric disappeared, and I found only black and gray. The pops of cherry red became a brick red and then a muddy gray color as the weeks went on, and the only red was in the bottle of wine that I brought into the room with me.
My beautiful and safe sanctuary had become my prison.
The things that had once brought me joy — the bright fabrics, the soft yarns, the thought-provoking books — had ceased to be comforting, inspirational, or even useful. I could not sew, paint or read, and didn’t want to anyway.
It had come to this; lying on the floor in the darkness.
Eventually though, I began to feel a burning in my chest. A small light in my heart that said to pay close attention. So soft and dim I could hardly hear it, this light said, “Your brain has filled your head with lies. You are not fine, though you tell everyone you are, and you need help. Finding this help is within your power. The time has come to get off the floor, out of your head, begin to feel with your heart, and find hope and love for yourself. I am flickering now, and do not want to go out.”
I sat up, wiping the tears from my eyes, and listened. I wanted the light. I wanted my light. My darkness felt deep, but I could feel a tiny sliver of hope seeping in under the door. Dragging myself up by the doorknob, I realized that my prison door had been unlocked all along. Opening that door, I crept up the basement stairs and started over, this time not alone, but with the help of others.
That room is still here, and the colors and light have returned. I go in there now because even though it is in the basement, I feel as if I’m on the top of the world. I have the power within to leave when I want.