I’ve spent a lot of my high school career hiding. Hiding behind makeup, characters, personalities, labels, you name it and I’ve probably used it as a disguise. Somehow depicting a 1930’s showgirl was easier than being myself. My cloak of invisibility would shield the overwhelming insecurities I felt. When the rollercoaster of teenage emotion became too terrifying, my on-campus refuge would be the bathroom.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the cliche phrase “if these walls could talk”, and if you’ve learned anything from reading my past articles I have a thing for cheesiness…I can’t help it. Honestly, if the (newly and beautifully painted) walls of my fortress could talk, I’d fear the truth they would reveal, but I’m done hiding. That’s the thing about the bathroom: it is awkward and uncomfortable. It’s a place where we are figuratively and quite literally naked. It’s honest and there’s no way around it. My greatest hope is that in my writing of the tales sprung from the stalls I have kept the vulnerability that the bathroom demands. So, for the last time on The Authored Ascension, I’m going to make things awkward. Here are my conversations with the bathroom throughout the years (yes, you read that correctly).
A petrified eighth grader peers into the bathroom hoping not to spot an upperclassmen and pee in peace. She then glances into the mirror to realize that her mission to straighten her wild curls had failed miserably and she had appalling frizzy remnants. She huffed in frustration as any angsty teen would.
The bathroom matched her, frustrated and desperately wishing that she would stop bickering with her reflection in the mirror. Finally, having enough of this, the bathroom shouted in frustration, “You are beautiful. Stop trying to tame your curls! Invest in a good shampoo and figure out how to style your wild waves.”
Sadly, she couldn’t hear the desperate plea over the voices in her head, and the meek shadow of a person exits to return to the “stressful” schoolwork that would only multiply…
A sophomore with a smile faker than Ross’s tan on that horrid Friends episode quickly sprints into the bathroom so that no one in the hallway notices the tears flowing from her mascara coated eyelids. This had become routine because she became reliant on others for her own happiness.
Calmly (knowing by now that anger couldn’t fix the situation) the wallowing walls cried out, “Stop searching for approval. Above all, love yourself and refuse to apologize for the things that make you unique. You do not have to fit anyone else’s mold. Make your own happiness; it’s no one else fault that do not love yourself. You have no right to get upset with others for not providing you with the happiness you need to create within yourself.”
There’s only one voice she would have listened to and it was one of a high school boy who did not see her worth.
A sappy and sentimental senior prances into the bathroom dancing the unwelcoming chime of the late bell, ignorant of the fact she should be in class. She needed to get a picture for her final article. She was on a mission to help others save money on waterproof mascara and learn from her mistakes. She then discovered what she should have known all along. The bathroom could not actually talk (she’s always been a bit slow) — it was the powerful ladies at the school who spoke life into her when she felt dead.
All along, our heroine’s hideaway knew that there were only so many more entrances and exits before our curly haired culprit leaves the “Ascension bubble”. Everyday, little by little, the radiant restroom noticed spunk, adjective, new haircuts, friendships and everything in between. Though, now, in that exact moment, the bathroom could finally say in confidence that our protagonist had learned her lesson.
She exited that palace with a porcelain thrown with a heart full of gratitude and a different kind of tear emerged.
Unfortunately, the bathroom did not talk back to me, but through the years all the girls who frequented it did. You all complimented my fizz or braided it when it was truly unbearable. You would proclaim that the boy is stupid and compare his physique to that of an unfortunate cartoon character. You all freed the princess from her secluded bathroom hideaway and then celebrated her writing centered around it.
You all are my inspiration. You would expose me, love me, and uplift me. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my anecdotes (even if it’s only a select group of Facebook moms, you guys rock). A big thank you to Mrs. Bourque for not only allowing me to write this column, but for loving me through the time I did not have the courage to do so. Thank you for helping me grow. You had faith and confidence in me long before I did and I truly do not know where I would be without you.
For the last time, a cliche, (you’re going to miss my cheesiness) you guys were the lights in my darkness. I love you all even more than obscure references and parentheses (and that’s a lot of love).
(sorry I had to)