IN MY ROOM
Four-year-old Jada Hikary stands on the patio of her new home. She runs through the house, looking for her room. As she makes a sharp left at the front door she enters an empty room that is filled with sunlight.
Hikary has lived in this room ever since, but has had other bedrooms as well.
Hikary’s situation was very different than other families. She was moving into a new house with her mother — who was pregnant with Hikary’s younger brother at the time — and stepfather. Her mother and stepfather had been together since Jada was two years old and her stepfather has never left Hikary’s side since.
When Hikary was in seventh grade, her mother and stepfather divorced. This caused her mother to move out of the house and find a new one close by. When all of this was going on, Hikary still had her room. It’s a place that has no tensions, and allows Hikary to be her true self without judgement.
Hikary holds many things in her room that represents who she is.
“I really love my record player because it’s a lot cooler to me than just listening to music through earbuds, it’s a different sound,” Hikary said. “I like the putting an old Aretha Franklin record on a turntable and just listening.” Hikary also has a special meaning behind her record player. She received it from her mother on her thirteenth birthday, and for a while now, Hikary and her mother haven’t been very close.
“We don’t always get along because we both have pretty intense personalities,” Hikary said. “That record player was a way we connected because we have these really strong connections, but then we also have really strong disconnections. So that makes the record player a lot more special to me. She was making an effort to make that connection with me.”
Another item in Hikary’s room that is very special to her is her shadow box that she received from her father.
Hikary’s father has always lived on the other side of the country. He used to move around more as part of the air force, but for the past couple of years he has been stationed in Palmdale, CA. During the war in Afghanistan he was stationed there and it was very hard for her to stay in contact with her father and still have the growing relationship they needed when Hikary was only eight years old.
One day Hikary came home to find a shadowbox waiting for her with the american flag on the inside with a certificate with Hikary’s name on it, as well as other small things that would remind her of her father.
“It wasn’t just a material gift,” Hikary said. “It had a lot more meaning behind it. It’s something I can keep for a really long time and I probably will too just because that shadow box represents what he was doing. He flew the American flag in Afghanistan.”
Hikary has also filled her room with memories on the wall above her bed with posters, letters and pictures.
“My posters remind me of myself and who I am, which is always nice to look at,” Hikary said. “They remind me that things aren’t all bad, and that I’m loved.”