Wednesday, 23 November 2011

home - what goes on behind closed doors?

So…what makes my home my “place”? What make a home a home?

With regard to these questions, initially my thoughts were what elements constitute a home – a kitchen, living-room, bathroom and bedroom? But is this really what makes a home a home?

Thinking about my own home environment, my answer to this question would be my family, how we interact and where we congregate – the living-room. My living-room seems to have several functions and qualities i.e. a play space – toys scattered over the floor, a sentimental place – photos of loved ones, a working space – paperwork haphazardly piled up on shelves or just a place for noisily arguing over the remote control. But strangely, this set of elements seems to disappear on the arrival of visitors and what is “real” is hidden by the illusion of how I wish my home to be perceived – tidy, organized and quiet – an ideal. This of course is a fake representation of my home’s sense of place and this is perhaps because I wish to portray the “perfect” family home-life to others or maybe its simply just down to pride (even if said visitors are close friends or extended family, which seems ridiculous).

Another ridiculous place I find myself in, is the conservatory. Why is this ridiculous? The conservatory was a major selling point for the property – an additional living-space, a luxury where I could see myself relaxing with a glass of wine, watching the world go by. I even bought myself a ridiculously large sofa at a ridiculous price specifically for the conservatory. However, the joke was on me because 3yrs down the line, I have probably sat on that godforsaken sofa a handful of times! This ideological place has turned into a non-place, a fake place and has been reduced to place for clothes waiting to be ironed – sometimes hanging from the crosstrainer (another useless purchase with an alternative function – but “hey look at me – I’m into exercise”…unfortunately another falsity!) Why is this? I’ve no idea, maybe because of its cold environment – white venetian blinds for walls, or perhaps the large glass sliding doors, which cut off the nucleus of the home, the living-room.

And yet, here I find myself again, portraying an ideal “sense of place” to visiting friends…“hey, why don’t we go and chill out in the conservatory with a bottle of wine, play some music and smoke a fag”. Why do I put on this showy display? My home's "sense of place" in truth, is a lived-in space which unfortunately causes embarrassment to my insecure nature and my ideas of what is expected of me. Shallow? Phony? Probably!

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