stay­ing home is okay

CELENE SAKURAKO falls out of love with the nightlife and finds a new ver­sion of her­self in­side the four walls of her room IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY KARLA ESPIRITU

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Any­one who knows me well or who watches my In­sta­gram sto­ries knows that I get around. In the two years that I’ve been in Manila since mov­ing out of Tokyo, I’ve gained a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing pretty much every­where. Art open­ings, gigs, par­ties, col­lec­tion launches—you name it, I’ve prob­a­bly been there, In­sta­grammed that. It’s not un­com­mon for peo­ple to come up to me and tell me they’ve seen me here and there.

Truth is, work aside, I used to go out prob­a­bly at least hap­pen­ings in just one night. And I never re­ally ques­tioned it. Born and bred in the city, I’ve al­ways been ac­cus­tomed to be­ing out and about. If you asked me if it was tir­ing, I’d quickly re­fute been for me.

That is, un­til re­cently. Trig­gered by a trau­matic breakup, I found my­self go­ing out less and stay­ing at home more. I went week. The four far-too-fa­mil­iar walls of my room where I’d come home ev­ery night for the past two years sud­denly seemed cold. The space where I found so­lace af­ter a full night of be­ing out had some­how gone from friend to stranger. The queen- sized bed I would crash into, party af­ter party, no longer seemed as wel­com­ing as it used to be. My room abruptly felt dif­fer­ent. It was as if it had be­come stag­nant and life­less. When I stopped go­ing out, it was as if ev­ery­thing else also froze in time.

There were days I would stare at my walls, zon­ing out, think­ing of ways to en­ter­tain my­self. I’d turn on the tele­vi­sion, scroll through ran­dom sites on the in­ter­net, play games, watch a cou­ple movies...but none of th­ese seemed to give me the same stim­u­la­tion as it would when I was out. Some­thing as sim­ple as log­ging onto Twit­ter, Face­book, and In­sta­gram be­came some­thing that I dreaded. See­ing oth­ers at places I would have been in­stead of in­side be­came the main source of feel­ings of #FOMO. By be­ing at home, I felt like I wasn’t do­ing any­thing pro­duc­tive. I felt as stag­nant and life­less as the things laid in

So, I tried to go out again to all the events and places I fre­quented so of­ten. In­stead of head­ing straight home from my­self. But some­how some­thing was dif­fer­ent. I no longer felt the same. Once again, I ex­pe­ri­enced feel­ings of un­fa­mil­iar­ity in fa­mil­iar places. It was as if the places I’d been, the peo­ple I’d met, had all be­gun to seem like petty phases.

But af­ter driv­ing my­self home and be­ing greeted by the once daunt­ing four walls of my room, I would feel a tinge of hap­pi­ness. I found that in the weeks I spent holed up alone in­doors, I had ac­tu­ally be­gun to en­joy the new me that stayed at home. My room, once again, was as wel­com­ing as it was be­fore, if not even more so. My place no longer looked like a time por­tal, where things would stay stag­nant and cold.

Time be­gan to move again just the same— maybe even a lit­tle faster than be­fore. I found my­self plan­ning how I’d spend my felt a lit­tle more sat­is­fy­ing now that I was ac­tu­ally tak­ing the time to do them. There was no need to rush, and no pres­sure even take a walk, th­ese things were all still at my own dis­posal. I didn’t feel the heavy feel­ing that used to plague me be­fore of In­sta­gram, and I didn’t feel that fear of miss­ing out any­more, be­cause now, I was choos­ing to stay at home.

An in­vite to any­thing is no longer an in­stant yes for me ac­tu­ally turned into some­thing that I can now say is some­thing to do, some­where to be. It’s not the last stop at the end of the day, con­sider ex­cit­ing, but ex­cite­ment is rather sub­jec­tive, don’t you lat­est hap­pen­ings, there is a place for the many who pre­fer the spa­ces of their homes. Af­ter all, not ev­ery­one is built to con­stantly be out and about.

Now, when I sit in­side the four walls of my room, a calm washes over me that I never felt be­fore— a type of se­cu­rity, a one might think it’s a sign of age, or a quiet re­bel­lion of the body that de­mands me to set­tle down, I see it as a pow­er­ful state­ment. Stay­ing at home is like a gift of time and space you give to your­self, be­cause some­times, liv­ing fast is mov­ing slow. And, there’s noth­ing more pow­er­ful than say­ing no to things that at all the places I fre­quent be­fore, I no longer feel the need to be any­where. I now carry a feel­ing of com­fort know­ing that I can al­ways just stay at home.

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