By Mayowa Omogbenigun
I don’t have a nightstand. My favourite side of the bed is next to a wall of shelves so I have fashioned a nightstand from the shelf closest to my bed. I’m also never in my bed. This might be a bit controversial, but I find sleeping incredibly boring and I’m too restless to lie in bed for too long. I lie in my bed to sleep and get out of it as soon as I’m awake and alert. I only go back into it when my body forces me back into it to sleep. That being said, I spend very little time in my bed so the contents of my nightstand move around my room. I have worked hard to make my room feel safe and for me, my room and my bed are intimate spaces. My bed may not be my favourite place, but I feel safe in it so I’m careful about what and who I allow near or in it.
Where ever I find myself, I need a few beauty staples next to me. At night, I use whipped shea butter as a hand mask and after that, I use a thick lip balm as an overnight lip mask. The thought of being dry even in my sleep scares me so those two are constants. I also love to have something that smells nice and for the past two years I have been obsessed with incense. Incense reminds me of my mother and the familiar smell calms me down. My mother constantly burns incense and after years of constant burning, the small lingers on her skin and clothes.
Next to my beauty staples, I like to have a magazine that I work my way through during the week. I can never read magazines in one sitting – literally sitting because I rarely read in my bed, I like to sit on the floor close to my bed. I prefer long-form literature and find short stories and articles a little jarring and disjointed so reading a little bit of a magazine every day works best for me. Right now, I’m working my way through Surface Magazine, the issue with Solange on the cover. I adore Solange. I’m also reading the latest issue of Gentlewoman, one of my favourite women’s magazines. After I read a few articles, I move on to whatever book I’m currently reading. I’m a one-book-at-a-time reader and right now I’m ploughing my way through Lifting the Veil, a collection of fiction and non-fiction by Ismat Chughtai for a book-club. The next book in my to-be-read pile is Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. I recently read Beloved and it took my breath away.
Then of course is my phone which I always have next me mostly because it’s the only way I talk to my family while at university. Having it close makes me feel safe and connected. The last thing on my nightstand is a glass of water. Last because just when I get warm and comfortable in my bed, I realise I’m thirsty and have to rush to the kitchen!
Mayowa Omogbenigun is a student and a Nigerian woman who reads books by and about people of colour