Home Isn’t Where It Used To Be

Home Isn’t Where It Used To Be // Natalie Leonard

Do you ever wonder when adolescence ends? I think it happens when you visit home for a couple of weeks after you finish your first half of college, and for the first time you see that everything else is moving on without you or maybe that you’re moving on without everything else. By that criterion, my adolescence is on its way out. The house I grew up in was centered in the neighborhood that was my teenage social epicenter; down the street from my best friend Kayla’s house, a block from the high school baseball field where I smoked my first joint in the dugout, around the corner from an abandoned railroad bridge where I cried over way too many broken hearts.

Surprisingly though, it’s not returning to my hometown that makes me nostalgic. It’s stepping into the bedroom I spent all of my high school years in. A lot of me happened in that room. My walls are still covered with the same posters and collages I made sitting on my floor while listening to Thirteen by Big Star on repeat. Glow and the dark stars still stick to the ceiling right above where my head hits the pillow, senior prom photos with my ex boyfriend taped to the wall and sports trophies stacked on my bookshelf. Every trinket dusty and untouched since I moved out after my high school graduation. My sheets feel stale. Teenager’s rooms have always existed as a parallel universe to the domestic family home, the only place you have complete control, a kind of purgatory where you can exist until you escape. But after being gone for what feels like not long at all, so much has changed and soon enough you feel as if you don’t belong in a space that was once yours.

I wanted to channel those same feelings into a project reflective of my life right now and explore personal space, specifically bedrooms, of college students; a space of my own I currently don’t feel comfortable in. I used to think I was a confused teenager in high school, but i’m currently an even more confused twenty-something. Right now I’m just trying to find a balance between being who I’ve always been, and learning who I might be in the future. To just escape to my room and slam the door behind me as I try to run away from my problems is only an option if my roommate is out. For this assignment I photographed people I met in an elevator, friends of friends, frat brothers, and people that lived on my floor freshman year.

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