How to Paint Your Room

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After reading Erica Schauble’s “How to Paint Your Room,” I felt as though my way of thinking, like the color of her bedroom walls, had been re-painted from a “sun-faded light purple” to “the perfect shade of Caribbean Sea.” Erica’s piece is one that combines humor and emotion, empathy and confession, all conveyed in seemingly simple advice about wall decoration.

Erica’s own experiences and feelings were cleverly hidden behind the appearance of instructions on how to paint, with each moment of perusal creating a deeper connection to the reader. At first, the connections seemed light-hearted; taking care of a “pet tarantula in its glass tank” seemed like an everyday activity. Before long, I found myself agreeing with her frustrations. Memories of hardships flooded my mind when my eyes scanned across “…there are probably holes punched in the wall from when you had a hard time adjusting to high school,” an action that seemed unrealistic when I chuckled at the mention of boy band posters a mere paragraph ago. “Hang some things back on the wall, but not everything,” Erica also stated, explaining that some parts of the past are worth keeping, but others are best left behind. It is through words such as these that show a part of Erica’s character and reveal a vulnerability that is familiar to many.

Despite the serious tone the piece took on at times, hope for the future was constantly emphasized. Even through pains that should be forgotten, Erica also explained that “not everything can be fixed with just putty. You might need to sand it flat.” By comparing hardships to holes in a wall, Erica was able to convey that some problems cannot be solved with just one step; they require patience, that extra sanding to fill it once more with heart.

Erica’s piece introduced me to a new perspective on life, and for that, I thank her for sharing her memoir.

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