by Ang Kia Yee

I was thinking today about living with other people, and living with my family. And I realized, through weighing and shuffling these thoughts (which so vivid and full of feeling), that I will always need an inner room. Strangely enough, my family home gives me that now, and promises to do so even more now that she is moving out. I say strangely because I have often felt under-celebrated by my family for the things I have worked hard to do, and this evoked resentment, sadness, longing in younger years, when I was a different person with fresh wounds.

Now this lack of interest in my achievements and public/ professional selves, along with the ample space I have carved out and am now easily given at home, affords me a kind of anonymity. I’m not sure if that makes sense? But home is, more and more, a place where I can be no one and nothing at all, perhaps merely the minor mood or activity I’m in at any given time. I am nothing but someone chopping up some mushrooms for lunch, or a figure unseen behind a closed door, doing whatever that no one cares to ask about. I am asked about meals and laundry and simple things with kindness but without expectation. I am seen but not looked at, not read, not considered. In a way, I think my family has come to understand and adapt to me.

Now, then, the inner room I carry within myself has an external extension, and I needn’t clutch so tightly within. There is space and room for me to pass through walls, a ghost.