30 Jan CLUTTERED WALLS AND CHANGING SELVES
In a video for NOWNESS in 2015, Florence Welch describes her home as a scrapbook, ringing true to how my walls have always become a cluttered collection of little moments. The video shows Florence’s home, which feels lived-in and gently personalized to her preferences. As the light pinks, blues, and yellows painted on her walls mesh together, Florence herself is able to blend into the background. Her home is quiet and small yet filled with life. The pictures and notes seen around her kitchen and living area give a glimpse into her daily movements. Trinkets, polaroid photos, embroidered fabrics, old sketches, and posters of art are densely cluttered across her walls. Watching the video feels like piecing together a puzzle. All of the pieces individually, if given a long enough look, could tell you something about who and what she values most.
“Homes always become like scrapbooks in the end for me. I always say I won’t cut up as much stuff and then postcards start going up and song lyrics and things people have said to me and the whole house just becomes like a giant notebook in a way,” Florence Welch said in the series from Dazed Media.
Our scrapbooks and notebooks reflect our inner workings, the words resembling feelings we don’t quite want to bring to the surface yet. With the quote lingering in my mind, I’ve found that my room, in whatever house I’ve lived in and whoever I shared it with, has become a collection of the little things that comprise my identity. The interiors of Welch’s are vastly more mature than I’ve ever been able to fill a space, however Florence herself is vastly more mature than me. The way that her home resembles her experiences is how I feel my walls have resembled mine. I’ve added new pieces, both posters of art and scraps of paper that should be in a scrapbook, to my walls in every home I’ve lived in. Along with bringing some scraps along from place to place, slowly my walls have begun to show both who I was and all the little ways I’ve changed.
Throughout growing up, I’ve watched my room alter to reflect my changing and varied interests. My bedroom walls at home in Toronto are filled with posters that I’ve found, messages from friends I’ve lost contact with, and photos where I don’t even look like myself anymore. In first year, I roomed with my best friend. Our sides of the room differed, but I knew all the people in her photos, and she knew all the people in mine. As the year went on, we grew to meet the people we would live with later, and sticky notes with messages that barely make sense began sprawling over our walls. In my living room in Kingston, the Halloween decorations may just never come down, and neither will the various happy birthday messages. The chart depicting us as each of our favourite characters from shows and movies we’ve watched together and the wall of all the things that make us laugh give us a break in the middle of stress. In the five months that we’ve lived here, we’ve put up jokes that we can’t quite get over, drinking competition score sheets, watercolor paintings we’ve done, printed photos of our favourite celebrities, and other pieces of paper that we’ve given value. I hope that the streamers from the first birthday celebration of the year and the poster of four cats that reads, “Furry Friends,” never come down. The cluttered chaos may put off anyone that doesn’t live here, however it exists for the very people that contributed to it.
When I went home for winter break, I was met with the wall I created throughout high school years. “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then,” a poster reads that I brought back after first year. Snippets of paper going back to 2014 are still taped up on my walls. Every time someone new enters my room, they are able to see back into my life. The people who were most important to me and the most valuable things that have been said to me remain on that wall. It allows for vulnerability and a recognition of aspects of my life I don’t speak of unbiddenly.
I add new pieces to my walls, while bringing some older scraps to every place I go, and slowly my walls show both who I used to be and who I am now. We put little scraps of our moments, thoughts, and feelings on our walls to reflect who we are, and over time it creates a visual depiction of how we’ve grown. Treating my walls as a notebook, I was almost proving to myself that I was able to grow while holding on to the things I enjoyed in the past. Coping skills are one of the things that have always littered my walls. Reminders to take medication, to breathe, to allow myself to rest have always been something that I need to see to remember, instead of just knowing. I remember first putting up such a reminder at the beginning of my high school days, and I’ve carried that notion with me to every place I’ve gone.
I was compelled to collect pieces of paper that have no distinctive value, and continuously re-tape the pieces that fell down. It shows how at a basic level, I wanted to surround myself in the reassurance of the things that were most important to me. I also feel it shows how we exist as we are in this moment, and how our ideas and perspectives are composed of everything we’ve experienced, every thought that crossed our minds, and every feeling that has consumed us. We put little scraps of the elements that piece together our identities on our walls to reflect who we are, and overtime it creates a visual depiction of our growth.
The walls that surround me, wherever I’ve lived, have become a cluttered portrayal of our changing selves. My walls in Kingston are slowly growing in their reflection of who I am now, but it takes time to collect pieces just as it takes time to understand yourself. By treating my walls as a scrapbook, I was almost proving to myself that I was able to grow while holding on to the things I enjoyed in the past. Creating a visual depiction of how my thoughts and perspectives have altered, scrapbook walls give a little piece of comfort to the constant change of life.