Rose-Colored Glasses

I can’t tell you much about it.  It never really seemed real, or like MINE.  What I can tell you is that it was perfect and neat, a beautiful showcase, a magazine photo.  Like the rest of the house, it held to a theme, each personal item tucked anonymously away.  At a glance, you’d say idyllic, and I’d have to agree, she did a lovely job.

It was pink.  The kind of pink that Laura Ashley herself couldn’t have wet-dreamed.  Cotton candy pink.  Pepto Bismol pink  Elly the Elephant PINK.  If M.A.C. made a lipstick this color, drag queens everywhere would buy it up faster than Seinfeld’s Elaine finding a warehouse full of Today’s Sponges.  Really fucking pink.

We lived in a split-level house in a small town in Upstate NY that my parents had had built to order.  Somehow, my younger brother had been awarded the slope-ceilinged attic space, (No FAIR!) and, as a consolation prize, I’d been allowed to choose my paint color.  I’ve got nothing to say for myself on this front.  I chose the pink.  I was six years old and had a circular valise full of Barbies and their clothing.  It was the obvious choice.

My mother was the one to go all out.  A four-inch border around the ceiling studded with pink hearts.  Rose-colored bed linens with matching  bedskirt.  Foofy curtains boasting ruffled tie-backs.   Precious Moments dolls and needlepoint samplers.  There was a pair of hand drawn ballerinas hanging over my twin bed.  It was a girl’s bedroom to end all girls’ bedrooms.  We never did anything halfway in my house.  Go big or go home.

It didn’t stay pink forever (though probably longer than you’d guess).  When my great Aunt Peggy died, and I’d begun to cover the cavity causing walls with posters of Jim Morrison (so cool and retro!!), my parents decided that along with her bequeathed bedroom set, I’d get a new coat of paint.  I didn’t get to choose this time, but was satisfied with the eggshell beige and a flowery stencil applied by my mum.

In the beige neé pink room, I started my first journal, blasted Metallica’s “Black” album, spent hours on the phone with friends talking about nothing and learned the finer points of self-love.  I’d have sex in it, but not until the weekend before we’d move out of that house, the summer before my sophomore year of college.  Closed doors were a No-No (except to change) and privacy an endangered species; as well as the tchotchkes, my mother owned every moment had under her roof.

I grew up in that room, but it remains only pink in my memory.  Just pink.  No sentimental attachments or wistful backwards glances.  A snapshot of a place that held me.  Scene notes.  A setting.  A backdrop on a journey toward something more MINE.


12 thoughts on “Rose-Colored Glasses

  1. Wow. I loved so many sentences and pictures in this story, that I’ll just say I loved it ALL 😀 Cavity inducing walls, oh yes. As a painter I just appreciate your way of describing color. As a contrast, the feeling tone of the text makes me glad you were on your way to something more you, something more free.

    • Thank you Marie. This post started to go in a decidedly different direction than I had originally wanted. I’m working some things out and they seem to be tinging everything I do. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your comments. 🙂

  2. Mine was pink too. Maybe not as pink as yours, but still definitely … pink. Pink with a feature wall of Pierrot and Columbine clown wallpaper. And it stayed that way until my parents moved out of the house in 2001, by which time I’d long moved away and bought my own flat. I still liked to go back and stay there, though. It was comforting. When my parents moved, I took the bedroom set that I had in that room and put it in the spare room of my flat in London. On nights when I was feeling sad or insecure or just plain pissed off, I’d go and sleep in my old bed. Regression, eh.

  3. I don’t know why the hell it has taken me so long to make it here, caught up in the whirlwind of posts that this project has brought about, i expect but I am here and boy I am glad to be so. And closing my eyes, I am sat in the middle of your pepto-pink bedroom marvelling at the ruffled tie-backs and four-inch border. Your descriptions are flawless.

  4. My room was an unholy pep to-pink as well, with an obnoxiously floral bedspread and godawful green 70’s shag carpet. Before we moved away in 1996, it became white walls and beige berber. But I’ll always remember the pink and green.

    I do wish I had ruffled tie-backs though. Those sound marvelous.

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