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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Life in My Closet
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Friday, July 2,2021

Life in My Closet

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
I’ve always fondly referred to my closet as my “Room of My Own,” and my copy of Virginia Woolf’s book is front and center on one of the shelves. My closet is full of my creative endeavors. Paintings on the walls, journals upon journals of songs and poetry, and even about a hundred pairs of rose-colored glasses that I bought on a whim on my 40th birthday when I had dreams of starting RoseyShades, the “attitude accessory” company. It’s my Dream Cave. But recently when I was spring cleaning, I saw these pieces of me – really my favorite pieces – sitting dusty on the shelves, and it made me wonder if I was living my life “in the closet.” Is my coveted Room of my Own, brimming over with creativity and dreams, actually a reflection my poverty of courage?

Woolf lived in an era when women held considerably less legal and economic power, and were often “shackled” to a life they did not choose. In response to a quip she’d heard from a Cambridge professor about women not having the intelligence to write like Shakespeare, she composed a story cleverly highlighting women’s relative poverty compared to men through a tale about Shakespeare’s fictional sister Judith. Woolf’s point was that a woman needs money and a room of her own to write fiction. Women were not able to participate in the male sphere because they lacked access. I, on the other hand, have been fortunate to be born after waves and waves of feminists fought for the (theoretically) equal access that I have to the public sphere. It’s not that I cannot be seen, I choose not to.

Am I locked in my closet due to fear of rejection, or am I thriving in my private space created by me for that purpose?

Could these pieces of me that decorate my walls and fill my soul represent a wealth of hope and optimism? The hundred pairs of rose-colored glasses are there because I truly believe that looking on the bright side is the only way to view our short and blessed time on this earth. No time for misery – that’s for sure! So I’m usually happy with whatever I have and wherever I am at the moment. It’s always “all good.” The only problem is that I do tend to be content, which does not lend itself to living outside my comfort zone.

Likely it’s both. If I am honest, of course there is a certain level of closeted living protecting me from rejection and failure. On the other hand, it is nice to have a Room of My Own that really is my very own. My paintings are not living room-worthy, let’s be real. It’s nice to have a place where I can just be myself. I like me. We have fun together, Me, Myself, and I.

Poverty of courage or wealth of soul satisfaction? I’ll go with the latter.

It sounds better. But I am running out of room, so it might be time to get some of those dusty dreams off the shelf and out into the world. Lucky for me I hold the key.


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