Good Graffiti

This time it wasn't a four letter word.

The word “graffiti” tends to have a negative connotation. It comes with labels, stereotypes, and judgments whether we like it or not. However, this week I was exposed to a new kind of vandalism.

I walked into the girl’s bathroom on the second floor after my zero period, waited in line, and proceeded into a stall. There, written on the side of the wall in a thin black pen, were the words “You are so beautiful.”

Now all through my middle school years and in my first two years of high school I have observed the typical forms of expression littering the sides of bathroom stalls. 

It isn’t usually uplifting.

I don’t walk out of the bathroom each day feeling better about myself than when I went in. Instead I feel grateful to make it out into the halls alive where the wafts from the cooking class’ creations treat my nose to a more pleasant smell.

But I don’t skip out of the double doors singing Kumbaya and rejoicing in the glories of the world.

That day however, I managed a glint of a smile.

For once, some person had broken the rules and committed a punishable act to write something kind instead of something provocative and unruly.

I don’t have the slightest idea who wrote it or what her true intentions were. She could have been doing it in an attempt to milk every last second that she could out of her bathroom pass and miss even more lectures on math and chemistry, but I don’t care. 

Four little words helped to brighten my day. No they weren’t “You just won a million dollars” or “Here’s a brand new car” but they did make me smile weirdly to myself and take a moment out of my busy little world to take a step back and think.

Maybe I am just over analyzing something, but I couldn’t help but wonder over the course of that day, how many high school girls saw those four little words and smiled too.

It’s little observations like these that make my life the way it is. When I see a heart shaped chip in the middle of my Lay’s salt and vinegar pile, it just puts some things in perspective I guess.

It’s a little glimpse of beauty, a glimpse of innocence in a truly messed up world. It’s a hope that little things do add up and can help to change the course of someone’s day. A confidence that a smile, a glance, the sharing of a chocolate chip cookie, or even the writing on some silly bathroom stall in Redwood City, could actually help in some small way.

So this week I learned about moral standing, reviewed the law of cosines, discovered the significance of the Shay’s Rebellion, and realized that even graffiti can be good.


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Mary McLinden September 11, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Yes, it was a nice message. And we are told that some graffiti is "street art" and we aren't supposed to be upset about it. But the fact of the matter is that someone has taken it upon him/herself to deface property that is not theirs. And that is not good, no matter how you slice it. My opinions on graffiti notwithstanding, Laurel, I look forward to reading your pieces. You have a wonderful way with words and it is refreshing to read articles on the internet that have been crafted with care and not just dashed off and thrown up there without regard to content, grammar and spelling. THANK YOU!


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