If you have not personally done it, you have most definitely witnessed it.
Since our single-digit years, many of us have raised our hands to ask for permission to use the bathroom and once we reached it, came across some form of drawing or writing in the stalls. These writings have continued throughout middle school, high school and have made a lasting impression in college, as well.
The stalls in both female bathrooms in the TECH Center are filled with writings and drawings of all mediums. Some are inspiring, some are funny, some are worthy of the infamous “shaking my head,” and others are just over the top. There is a message for all women entering at their own discretion.
“Why fight people when we can fight cancer instead #cancerawareness.”
“Everyone who enters this stall is a complete idiot.”
“Morality is a woman’s burden.”
As my workload for this semester has required much of my time to be spent in the TECH Center, I am constantly a willing recipient of these writings.
Into the early hours of the morning when a break is much needed, I usually go to the bathroom feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, yet walk out feeling a bit more refreshed and pensive depending on the content of the writing in the stall. It’s almost a game of “What message is behind the door,” when trying to select which one to use next.
There are people who are critical of the writings on the stalls that deem them to be immature, unnecessary and outdated. Personally, I think all of these are flawed ideas from those who perhaps have not taken enough time to appreciate the essence of the arts.
As college students, we are so quick to deem ourselves as “grown,” that we oftentimes overlook the simplistic things in life. The writing in the stalls are engaging and can be seen as a canvas students use for free speech and thoughts.
Let’s be clear – there are some derogatory and offensive messages like the “Kill yourself,” expression written in big black letters in one of the stalls. I cringe every time I see it and believe that any form of hurtful and emotionally disruptive message, such as the promotion of suicide is vindictive, utterly ridiculous and completely unacceptable.
The upside to it all is the messages that are inspirational, funny and thought provoking outweigh the offensive ones.
Oftentimes, there is random dialogue with stall users about anything and nothing at all. The conversations are spontaneous and although perhaps unnecessary, they provide an interesting random encounter with a complete stranger that is unreserved and unrestrained.
It brings to surface the issue of vandalizing school property, which is a valid point. Although our tuition is paying for the upkeep of the school, we can’t always have the “I do what I want,” attitude because there are always consequences for our actions.
Many students don’t realize that it can be an adversity to them as well as the custodial staff who must use supplies that erase the written content. Nonetheless, I will argue that the cost of the damage to school property is far less than the exchange of encouraging messages.
All in all, as a quote fanatic and admirer of spontaneity, I appreciate the beauty of the words just as much as I appreciate the person who took the time out to write a message that would bring about a smile, a laugh or further thinking after reading.
“Ladies, you are beautiful and don’t ever let anyone else tell you differently. Not even yourself.”
To that, I say thank you and keep up the inspirational and uplifting words.
Shanell Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.