I once wrote a poem called Home my freshman year of college, back in the Garden Level of Regina Hall days. The gist of it is that home can be anywhere, anyone, or anything. And since I’ve written it, just as it described, my home altered and changed and became a different place, different people, and at times, a different thing perhaps a song or my bed. Home is where you feel safe, free, and completely you. Welcome home to 222.
McCarthy 222 is where the roommate, Tara Luczak, and I reside on campus at SXU. We are the Resident Peer Ministers of the quad halls, which is an overwhelming thought that two people are responsible for the spiritual and emotional well-being of four buildings of residents. BUT that’s not my point here, we do the best that we can and maybe more than we think based on our interactions with others. RPM life is the best life, shoutout to our supervisor Will.
You see, our room started out just as bare as everyone else’s in the beginning of the semester. White walls, windows that you could only see trees out of, no sunlight really shines in because of our location, no quad view, just plain old and boring. I had my doubts that this place would ever feel like home.
During one of our first nights in our room, we decided to make dinner and invite the friends over. Little did we know, pasta would become a staple in 222. It was cheap, easy to make, and always available in Rhubarb’s. So without a question, pasta it was. And whenever we made pasta, it was only right that you test to make sure it was done by throwing a noodle on the wall above the sink. If it stuck, it stayed and dinner was ready. Now we have a collection of over 30 noodles hanging on the wall above our sink. The goal is now to make constellations out of the noodles; so if you’re making dinner, you better practice your noodle-throwing skills.
While lounging in the room one day, Tara and I discovered you could get free Pride flags from some page on Facebook. If you know us, you’d know that we nearly ordered 8 flags but decided we only needed two. One would go on the wall in the kitchen, and one we would keep so others could take pictures with and eventually appear on our wall of love titled “LOVE IS LOVE”. We were so excited about our plan for our wall that whoever walked into the room was nearly forced to take a picture with our flag. With every photo came a guarantee that you would be featured on the wall. My sincerest apologies for those who have not made it yet. Pictures cost money and I’m still working on getting those printed. Yeah, that goes for all of you who come barging in “Where’s my picture? It’s only been 10 years”. Yes, I know you have been in the room multiple times since your photo was taken. It will be there soon, I promise.
On some of the other walls in 222, hangs some of the best art by some pretty awesome local people. There is a collection of finger painted fruit and flowers in the kitchen which consists of bananas, apples, pineapples, oranges, and the occasional fall leaf. Those were from our painting relief days when the semester wasn’t so crazy.
In the the living room also hangs a simple, but beautiful painting by our dear friend Ellie. It says “Sit long, Talk much, Laugh often”. The painting itself completely describes 222, where others come to stay a while, talk things out, and more than anything, laugh until someone is crying or choking. *Cough Cough* Alondra. It’s quite the place to be.
Something you might hear from less frequent visitors is “Whose birthday is it?”. Tara’s 21st birthday was quite some time ago, 3 months ago to be exact. However, we just can’t get ourselves to take down the festive decorations that are now falling from the kitchen light and living room ceiling. If you’re tall like our good friend Christian, the streamers might take you out when you stand up, but with a little tape, a boost from the stool, the streamers are taped right back up. The decorations remind us that life is a party and it’s always a party in 222.
Next, the wall of Women Who Dared. We got this awesome poster from a lady we’ve worked for that has pictures and a short bio of women in history “who dared” on it. We put it up on the wall, but figured these aren’t the only women who dared in life. There is now a long list of inspiring women who we think have dared and more pictures of those amazing women like Michelle Obama, Rupi Kaur, Shay O’Toole, and Labonnie Hicks. Those women are only a few of the gems who we look up to.
Room 222 is full of creative, bright, beaming ideas and creations. These little details are what makes such a place feel so genuine, so real, so homey. It’s what you’ve created and put together so others and yourself can enjoy. Some of my most grateful moments this semester came from the gathering of friends inside our room. Some have come for Faith Sharing Group (FSG), random movie nights, family dinners, just to sit and chat, or to talk a situation out. Tara and I have this agreement that we don’t lock the door, because we never know who needs a place to go to. Anyone is welcome and sometimes anyone will walk in and surprise us. Usually it’s Bredz barging in causing a ruckus, but it’s never a complete day until she does. That’s the kind of place 222 is. You just walk in and know you’re free to be yourself.
We’re not opposed to many things except racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, capitalism, and anything that causes conflict. Conflict has no place in our home. If there is a problem, we talk, hear each other out, and come to an understanding. Only peace and good vibes are allowed in 222.
If you’ve never been to this solace of a home, you should really come visit 222 in the near future before our lease is up in May. Take a seat in the low self-esteem chair (our gift from Lauren that sinks when you sit in it because it’s elastic and Norbz broke it), come watch a movie or enjoy the peace of journal time, pop in and take a nap, read one of our wonderful books that sometimes leaves you emotionally unstable, enjoy pasta or tacos with us, get the dirt off your mind, laugh until your abs hurt, belt Water Under The Bridge or any Adele anthem, dance like no one is watching because I surely always do, and simply enjoy the love you will receive when you walk through the door.
To everyone who has made 222 what it is, frequent visitors and the ones who have yet to come, to anyone who has contributed to the beauty of it in gifts, artwork, or your presence, I thank you a thousand times. You are what has made 222 my home. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
See you in 2017 home,