Monday, October 3, 2011

The wallpaper of my youth.

Growing up I lived in a stucco-covered townhouse in the San Fernando Valley. It was a two-story condo that I lived in with my older bother and my sometimes single Mom. It had three bedrooms upstairs. Mine was in the corner, right next to my Moms room. My brothers room was smaller and darker. I don't remember how I lucked into the better room but I never pointed out the disparity. My bedroom had one window that looked out at another condo and looked down at a cement walkway edged by dark green ferns. My room was big, a long rectangle that could fit two twin beds, a large table and a long dresser. The walls of my room were covered in Duran Duran posters, fashion models and a flowered wallpaper that was girly and graphic at the same time. I picked it out, along with my Mom, after much deliberation at the local wallpaper store. My first choice had been sold out, a crushing blow to a teenager who rarely gets to make such big decisions. Sold out. Trying not to tear up over such a small thing; yet I can remember what a big decision it seemed in my mind. Huge. I couldn't imagine how I could land on a choice and actually be happy with the outcome. The store had rows and rows of choices in every color and pattern. Up, down, over and across. I kept looking for the one, finally settling on a pink floral pattern that had a black and white grid underneath it. Even back then I was strong and opinionated but I also aspired to be feminine and soft, just like the wallpaper. A fine line no one was helping me learn. "Are you sure?" my Mom probably asked. It seemed very me, and, knowing me, I was probably very definitive. My parents put it up one weekend, I think I helped a little. Carrying long strips from the hallway into the room, standing there while my short stepdad, standing on his small step stool placed it up high and then scraped downward with a squeegee to make sure it had no bubbles. Looking up, as he attempted to line up the grid, It was only then that I realized I had picked a complicated pattern. Maybe that's when I first began to hone my critical eye. When we were finally done I was happy. Excited to have something to stare at while lying in bed. Thinking back on that time I surprise my now self. Surprised I didn't hate it in one week. Surprised that, even now, I still remember it so fondly.

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