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WHY IT’S OK TO BUILD AN INDOOR FORT AT ANY AGE

when i was six, i ran away from home. we lived in an apartment at the time. i opened the front door, shut it behind me and stood there for a good two minutes. i had had an argument with my mother and boy, was i going to teach her a lesson. she would feel so guilty when she realised that i was gone. she would probably have to call the police and report my disappearance. she would get into all sorts of trouble. she would probably have to go to jail! that would show her. i pondered all of this whilst i waited outside the front door. i could hear her walking around inside, tidying various things up. but not once did i detect the sound of her calling my name in hysterical panic. she just went about her business. and like a fool, i waited. i started to grow a bit restless. what if i got hungry? what if i needed the bathroom? i could die of thirst out here! i was also wary of the neighbours that i didn’t know. any of them could be serial kidnappers. running away was one thing, but being kidnapped! it all sounded very uncomfortable. kids that were kidnapped weren’t given clean beds to sleep in, they couldn’t take baths or wash their hair. you would read these horrible stories of kidnappers ripping up children’s teddy bears right in front of them just to prove a mean old point. i mean, being kidnapped by pirates sounded exciting, but we lived next to a park. only unwashed kidnappers holding sweets hung around parks. i started to regret my decision, but being the proud child that i was, i needed to ensure i had gotten my point across. i knocked loudly on the door, crossed my arms theatrically and tapped my foot. i had my best angry face on when: “why are you out here?” that was my mother’s reaction. i decided to ignore the fact that she hadn’t even noticed i was missing. “i ran away, but i’m back now.” quickly spotting that i wasn’t carrying anything, my mother left it at that and went back to whatever she had been doing.

i was an only child and that meant, on occasion,  i got bored. restless. frustrated. my only real friends were furry, sat on my bed and never said anything. they were great listeners of course, but it was all very one-sided. my parents had no interest in childish games, so i was left to amuse myself and create imaginary worlds that existed only in my head (don’t call the shrink just yet). living in a medium sized apartment for most of my childhood meant that i longed for a garden. every night i would dream of my parents buying a big old spooky mansion with a huge garden and a tree house. i imagined all the secret passages and attics i could hide in and seek adventure. i rhapsodised about sitting in a purpose built tree house that was just for me – complete with rope ladder and a “no morons allowed” sign. but dreams rarely come true and mine certainly didn’t. however, i found other ways to be adventurous that didn’t involve running away or being kidnapped by unwashed pirates.

the good thing about indoor camping or fort building is that you don’t need to worry about your structure being impervious to varying weather situations.  as long as it stays up long enough for you to finish your imaginary trip to the north pole then you’re fine. the most important thing to remember when building an indoor tent or fort is to allow enough room for you and your favourite furry friends to sit comfortably. as you’re likely to be on the floor (unless you build it over your bed) you need to ensure that your behind is well looked after. this means lots of pillows and cushions! i wasn’t a disrespectful daughter, so i would always ensure the sheets and blankets that i procured were legit. the last thing i wanted was a screaming mother to run in complaining about “just washed sheets”. this could lead to the premature dismantlement of my beloved fort. don’t let that happen. always ask the laundry person which sheets are allowed and which are an absolute no go. if you’re the laundry person, go nuts.

if you prefer something a bit sturdier than sheets then perhaps cardboard boxes are more your scene. i always struggle to find one big enough to fit me and my teddies, but if you’ve got it then you might as well flaunt it. remember that you’re going to want to sleep in your new abode, for one night at least. so if you are going down the cardboard box route, then ensure to make it cosy with some fairy lights and floral cushions, otherwise you’ll feel like you’re sleeping in a coffin.

the bigger you grow, the bigger you have to build your fort. i would discourage anyone from using any real life camping equipment. it’s just lame and you’re going to bring all that mud from outside into you clean home. people, as they get older, think that forts are stupid and reserved only for children. i have to disagree. i find indoor forts to be very inspiring. if you’re ever stuck with a creative writing project or struggling to get through your poetry assignment, my recommendation would be to throw caution aside and build a teepee. parents/housemates/partners will assume that you’re insane – at first – but once you’ve got that baby up and decorated you count in seconds how long it takes them to hint at an invitation. the truth is, no one really grows up when it comes to forts, teepees, tents and tree houses. everyone wants a secret club to be a part of. whether it’s you and your best friend, you and your boy/girlfriend or just little old you all by yourself (i’m sure you remember where your teddy is). it doesn’t matter. people try and tell themselves that they’re too old for these things, it’s just not true. if you feel you’re still young enough, then who’s gonna disagree with you? and even if they do make fun of you, just remember your sign: “no f*****g morons allowed*”.

*being all grown up now means it’s ok to swear

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