So you’ve all learned some of the things Charlotte doesn’t mess around with. But a really serious one is her room. There are things we are and are not allowed to do in her room, but mostly are nots.
1. Do not sit on her bed
So the other night, I just got back from the gym and wanted to spend sometime with my mother. That’s pretty normal right? So she has her “sitting chair” in her room, similar to the one she was in the living room. This is where she sits from the time she wakes up to the time she goes downstairs in the morning to her other sitting chair. When she gets home, she undresses in that sitting chair and will relax…..in that chair. Her sitting chair. Mind you, she has a king size bed right next to her. But oh no, don’t sit on her bed. My mom treats her bed like it is the most prized possession she owns. So when I went in her room, I laid across her bed. She kept looking at me nervously and could barely focus on what she was doing.
Finally she said, “uhhh Brittany I don’t like the way you’re sitting on my bed.”
I responded “Mom, it’s a bed, you’re supposed to sit on it.”
She said, “Well, I don’t. I don’t like the way you’re all sprawled out across my bed and you just got back from the gym.”
I laughed and said, “Mom, how am I supposed to sit on it?”
She said, “You’re not. I don’t even sit on it. You’re tearing up my comforter and pillows. Brittany, get down on the floor that is bothering me.”
So I laughed again but more in a you’re being ridiculous voice and said “Mom, you are acting like this is some throne.”
She interjected and said “IT IS MY THRONE NOW GET OFF IT AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK!”
Well, she told me.
This was all over a bed. A bed that is meant for sitting. But oh no, not Charlotte’s bed. When I got up, she made me fix the three wrinkles I made and acted like I wet her bed or something. You would think that I really just destroyed it the way she was huffing and puffing.
2. Don’t cut your toenails in her room
So a few weeks, no a month, I got a pedicure with Patrick. I got my toe nails painted Virginia Tech colors. Now I’m sure you can imagine that they are a little raggedy by now. I didn’t know where my toe nail clipper was, so I asked the one woman I knew who would have on, my mother.
“Mom do you have a toenail clipper I can use?” me in my sweet, angelic voice.
She acted like she didn’t hear me. My mom doesn’t like for us to use her stuff because she says we either break it or don’t return it.
So I repeated myself and she still did not respond. Finally, the third time is a charm. She hands me this raggedy cuticle clipper and said that’s all she had. Now, I didn’t believe that for a second. My mom is one of those people that buys those little manicure sets just because the case is pretty. But I took what she offered.
So I propped my foot up to get to work. She look at me like this. I swear it was like she was ready to fight.
She said, “Do not clip your toenails in my room. I do not like finding people’s nasty toenails on my floor.” First, who is searching for toenails in the carpet? Only Charlotte…
I laughed as I usually do and said “Mom, stop tripping I will pick them up. I’m only cutting two.”
She said, “No. I’m not playing do not clip your toenails in here.”
So I started clipping them. She said, “So you are just going to do it anyway after I told you not to? I can’t believe that. You are straight up just going to do whatever you want.”
I said, “Mom I’m just clipping two I will pick them up.”
She had enough she said, “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!”
I started hysterically laughing and continued she said, “Get out or I am going to hit you in the head with this shoe!” She sat there waving the shoe over my head. By this time I lost it. I was done for.
She started ranting about how we don’t pay her any attention and how we do whatever we want and continued to tell me to get of her room. So I said, “How are you going to kick me out of your room?”
She said, “This is my room and I can do what I want! I don’t come in y’alls room causing chaos. You all always want to disrupt me in my room. This is my room! Now get out and don’t come back in here with all that foolishness!”
She really kicked me out of her room over some toenails. She also hit me in the head with her shoe.
I can’t make this stuff up.
This made me think about how important space really is. The way we decorate our and live in our spaces communicates a lot about us. It communicates what’s important to us and what are those little things that make us feel at home. Our space is our time to separate from others and just be. A space doesn’t have to be a bedroom or an office; it can be any area that you designate as your own to just be. For my mom, that space is her room and there are rules to that space. Because that is her space, there are things we can and cannot do. Dealbreakers.
Last semester we talked a lot about Lewin’s equation, B= f(P,E). Behavior is a function of person and environment. The way the person interacts within an environment has great implications on his or her behaviors. How I occupy my space versus how I occupy my mother’s space are two different behaviors. Your environment has implications on how you act.
We can’t fully control the P, but we can control the E. When we create spaces and places for friends, families, students, or whoever to occupy, we decide what goes into those spaces and in turn those decisions have implications on what happens within that space. If we take our children’s room and fill them with TV’s, electronics, toys, and mini-fridges stocked with sodas, that has implications on how they do or do not behave and interact with the family. They can chose to disconnect themselves because their environment allows them to have all their needs met in their own space. Why bother leaving your room when everything is right there? Who cares about in-person social interactions when you can shoot zombies and talk to other gamers on your XBOX?
The way we fill our spaces is so important. It’s not just decoration, but it affects our behavior.
Think about how you have your office decorated. Your office communicates things about you that might change the way people interact in it. For example, in the housing and residence life suite there are some offices that I will gladly walk in, while there are some I will not. What the environment says impacts my behavior in that space. For the offices I won’t walk in, I’ll stand at the door and politely ask my question or briskly walk past with an awkward hello. While the offices I will walk in, I’ll take a seat, say hello, and spark up a conversation because the environment makes me feel like it’s okay to do so.
So look around. Look at your space. Who is it inviting in or shutting out? What does your space communicate about you? How are you behaving in your space and how does your space cause others to behave or chose not to even exist in your space?
The way we decorated our cube, or rather, the way Amelia decorated our cube says a lot about us. It says that we made this space ours and want people to come in and comment on the craziness. We made it fun and interny because that’s what and who we are. Our space is fun enough to where it doesn’t drive us crazy from blank walls, but functional enough to where we can still get work done. We pulled an extra chair in, so our space is inviting for someone to sit in for a while or eye-catching enough to where folks walking past might be more likely to say hi. While we weren’t “intentional” about this from the beginning, the environment we created still impacts behavior.
Now I should probably use this space to do some work. Love yaah NASPA.