If I look at the pink wall in front of me I can see a piece of my artwork. The artwork dates back to my sophomore year of high school when I was forced to take Art Appreciation. The sadly sketched letters that spell out, “Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday,” are accompanied by a border of leaves that vaguely resemble marijuana. Out of curiosity I checked the back of it and my teacher, Sister Suzy, gave me a C. My immediate reaction is to be annoyed but of course I am no Picasso and then again she was a nun from Chicago who pretended to have a Ukrainian accent and spent class time looking up pictures of cats.
Next to my artwork that was only deserving of a C, (okay, maybe I am still bitter), is a poster from the drama club’s production of The Wiz that I performed in that same year. I was cast as a flying monkey, and an emerald city citizen. It did not seem to occur to our director that a bunch of white, upper-middle class, catholic school girls could not pull off the spunk of The Wiz. Despite this problem we continued on with our humiliation and still managed to have a good time…or at least that is the way I choose to remember it.
These are just two examples of the frightening things in my room that have brought on flashbacks from the days of high school and even before that. The things in my room are a weird preservation of the person I used to be. It isn’t until returning home from college that I realize I am not even close to the person I once was.
I think it’s funny, not in a ha ha kind of way but instead a small smirk way. I think one of my biggest fears when transitioning from high school to college was that I was so aware of this change about to take place. There was so much change happening in my life and if I was going to make this transition I wanted some things to stay the same. This is what probably fueled my choice in not selling any books on my shelves and leaving my old posters up. Everywhere you look there is evidence of all the things that used to be important to me that I lost along the way. Things like softball, dance and journaling are just a few to name.
I left home knowing that I was about to change but I knew I could always go back to the comfort of what used to be. But instead of experiencing comfort I’ve walked back into what feels like a museum and the exhibit showcases all of the things that used to be important in my life and all the people I used to share it with.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but there is something completely unnerving about being back in the house I grew up in. I sleep in the same bed that I once got caught making out with my high school boyfriend in, and I am constantly looking at faces in pictures of people who I barely know anymore.
I mean I guess in some ways it is comforting to know that I’ve moved on from dolphin posters and china doll collections but then again I’ve also moved on from people who I thought would be a part of my life forever.
Over time I guess we keep shedding our shells and leaving pieces behind everywhere we go in life. Coming home I can look at the shell and be nostalgic about what it offered at the time but then again shells have to be shed in order to make room for growth.
No, I’m not the same person but I like to believe I am a better person. I have a fancy new shell that is tougher than the older model. And a day will come when I won’t need this shell anymore. I will leave it behind for another day and eventually come back and study what was left behind.