My Basement, The Dungeon

The basement is usually thought of as a dark, dingy place that no one wants to be in. It’s usually left for laundry, storage, and other things that only require you to be there for a short time. I, on the other hand, love my basement. My parents call it ‘the dungeon’, which to me only gives it more charm. It looks like a dungeon when you first walk down the creaky old steps, but what I see is personal wonderland.

My basement, the dungeon, is a large, long space. It has various carpets scattered across the gray, cement floor. The washer and dryer are on it’s own little elevation in the far, right corner, and the walls are lined with shelves of all sorts. There’s a few support beams here and there. Some are painted, some are plain gray. In the back is the recording studio room, sealed off by a door. Next to it is the open space used as a stage by my musician parents, which are the only times that I am kicked out of the basement.  There is a cement mound in the middle of the room, constantly covered by a table, changing over the years. Though things are constantly being added and taken away, these things remain in my dungeon.

My basement, the dungeon, is an art gallery. Ever since I was little, I was always painting and drawing. This was the original purpose of the basement. It was wonderful, I was allowed to get paint anywhere, which my step sisters, trouble makers that they were, took to their advantage one day when they decided to paint me. After a month of being unable to touch the paints, I returned to my artistic domain, painting throughout the years. As I got older I took my art to the walls (with permission, of course). In elementary school, I tried to recreate the aquatic scene painted in my school’s cafeteria. It did not turn out well. In middle school I embraced my inner nerd, and painted a Legend of Zelda timeline over the old painting. It was better, but not by much- not that I cared, I had Link painted all over my wall, which made me very happy. When I got to high school, my (unfortunate) anime trash self painted all my anime crushes on the wall, which remains there to this day. While I realize that I was going through the phase all anime fans go through that makes them want to punch themselves later, the paintings look nice, and I haven’t painted over them since. On the bulletin board above the painting are all drawings that I wasn’t too lazy to fill in with colored pencil (since I usually translate them to digital media).

My basement, the dungeon, is my theater. While my parents had their stage in the basement, I had a stage of my own. When I was little, my grandpa built me a puppet stage, which we kept downstairs. It was a thick, wooden stage with sunflowers painted all around it. On my birthday when it was given to me, I was taken downstairs with a blindfold over my face. When the blindfold was removed, the Lollipop song played in the background, and I saw these strange colored creatures from behind the stage. Though I was very familiar with the concept of puppets (from the Muppets which I watched about every other day), I began to cry. Once my mother took one of the puppets, showing me how it worked on her hand, I was behind the stage having a show of my own. Throughout the years I put on many performances, both by myself and with my friends. Our puppets consisted of foam puppets, paper cut outs on a stick, beanie babies, fingers with faces drawn on them, and even hamsters (I promise, we only made them walk on the stage and go through toilet paper rolls, we love our animals). I stopped using the puppet stage when I was about 12, but that did not mean the performances ended there. In 2014 my cousin, Nikki, and I started a Sing-a-Long show for conventions and libraries. I was Rapunzel and she was Snow White, and together we were Happily Ever After. Our show has since then evolved into a general movie sing-a-long performance, and our princess personas (in fright of being sued) transformed into Ariaera the elf and Lytoria the fairy. We still use the band stage, tripping over wires and crashing into the drum set, but it is a stage, and we manage.

My basement, the dungeon, is my workshop. Ever since my first convention in 2009 I had become obsessed with cosplay, and longed to make my own costume. At first I had to go to my grandmothers house whenever I wanted to sew, but since they moved, they left the sewing machine with us, and that is when my basement became my workshop. It was not just costumes though; the previous Christmas, Nikki and I discovered a way to make fleece animal hats and sewed them together while we were out of state visiting family. Once I got home, I couldn’t help but make more. It started out as animals, then became Pokémon,  and soon I just let my imagination run wild with it. The minute my friend, Maureen, heard I was making Pokémon, she begged me to make her a hat of her favorite one, Eevee, and from what I’ve heard, she still wears it to this day. In January of 2015 I took it to the next level and started my own etsy store. There I sold not only fleece hats, but plush toys, button pins, stickers, custom painted items, and all the other things I have made in my workshop. I have gone through several crafting phases in my dungeon; fleece hats, magazine mosaics, and currently re-painting figures and paper mache boxes. I’m constantly working, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

My basement, the dungeon, is my hang out zone. Whenever my friends come over, we go right to the basement. Whether it’s watching movies, playing games, or just talking for an eternity, the basement is where we do it. I even had my tenth birthday party in the basement. The theme that year was Pokémon, so everything had a picture of Ash and Pikachu on it, except for the piñata I made myself out of a cardboard box and streamers, with a make-it-yourself ice cream buffet waiting afterwards. My basement still continues to be the area for hang outs. My friend, Tiffanie, who comes over just about every other week, and I spend our time together in the basement. The first time she ever came over I was so worried about making a first impression. When she came to the house, I brought her to the basement, and she seemed pretty intrigued. Afterwards we sat down, watched television, and drew in our sketchbooks for hours until her dad finally came to pick her up. I was so afraid that our lack of activities would make her not want to come over anymore, but to my surprise, a few days later in art class she asked me to hang out at my house again. Now we constantly meet in my basement, making traditions for ourselves to follow: we talking about our stories, play video games, draw, sew, watch movies, board games, and even role-play.

My basement, the dungeon, is my escape from the world. Whenever I wanted to be alone, the basement is where I would go. My four years of college had not been easy. My cat had to be put down when college began, and that only began the hardships that were to endure. I went through challenging courses, several mental breakdowns, a professor who bullied me, and overall went through a major that I despise and have no idea how I wound up in it. My school was two hours away from my home, and I could not always run away to my dungeon, but once I got home, I rushed there, closed the door, and just got away from it all. In my dungeon I was able to escape to the mythical worlds of Hyrule and Middle-Earth. I was able to sew my troubles away. I was able to take my mind off of the anxieties of school, and as long as I live in this house, it will always be the place I run away to.

I do not plan on staying at my parents house forever, but I would be lying if I said I will not miss my basement, the dungeon. So many memories are hidden in its walls, and I will treasure them always.

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