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How to Paint Your Room This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

The first step to painting your room is deciding that you are ready for a change.
Your room is one place you can call your sanctuary. It's the place where you wake up in the morning, staring at the ceiling and wondering what's in store for you, and the place where you crawl under the blankets at night, tired from the day's struggles and adventures. It is the one place where you can hang your embarrassing boy band posters and take care of your pet tarantula in its glass tank, and there's not much anyone can do to make you change it; it's your room.
Your room is probably light purple, because that was your favorite color from your first day of kindergarten to your last day of middle school. There are probably a few stenciled flowers bordering the walls, which your dad promised to finish when you were in second grade. There are probably gray blotches in the corner where you scribbled your crush's name over and over in pencil, only to erase it all because you found a new heartthrob. There are probably specks of paint missing from where you tore down the pictures of the girl who said she was your best friend. And there are probably holes punched in the wall from when you had a hard time ­adjusting to high school.
Eventually, even though light purple was your favorite color since as far back as you remember, you realize you have to repaint your room.
The second step to painting your room is to empty it. You have to take all of your belongings, put them in boxes, and move them into the hallway. Move all your furniture into the center of the room and cover it with a sheet. Plan on sleeping on the couch for the next few days.
Next, fill in those holes that you punched in the wall with putty. Let it dry for a couple of hours; don't worry if it's lumpy. Not everything can be fixed with just putty. You might need to sand it flat.
Then you can start painting the corners and along the ceiling. Cover up that ugly gray stain from the crossed-out names of your past loves. A new coat of paint can erase the evidence of any long-ago summer romance or broken heart. Once you finish painting the corners, painting your room won't seem as hard anymore; after all, you just have the middle left to do.
When you're painting the large expanses of wall with a roller, cover up the sun-faded light purple with great, wide strokes of bright turquoise. Let the paint wash over your walls like the ocean, and watch as your room transforms into the sanctuary that you forgot you needed. You deserve to have a nice view when you wake up in the morning; your tarantula does too.
When you're done and the paint has had time to dry, you can move your furniture back. But don't automatically place it where it was; be adventurous and put your bed under the window, so you can watch the kids parading down your block on Halloween, hear the rain splatter on the sidewalk on stormy nights, and feel the breeze when it's too hot to sleep. Hang some things back on the wall, but not everything. You don't have to keep that school picture from tenth grade when you chopped your hair off, even if your mom claims that your awkward phase was cute. It really wasn't.
Finally, fall onto your bed and look up at your freshly painted ceiling. You could hire painters for hundreds of dollars, but they won't take as much care as you will to make it perfect; it's not their room, after all.
Some people just live with their bland, boring room and never search for the perfect shade of Caribbean Sea, like you did. Some people are unhappy their whole lives but are too afraid of change to try anything new. But not you.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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