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Bliss In A Bathroom

Here at Ohio University, Ellis Hall is home to the English department. Whether you’re sitting through “writing and rhetoric” or creating nonfiction,” Ellis is the place to be. One Tuesday afternoon during a break in between classes, I wandered into the first floor bathrooms. Little did I know that by entering the ladies room located on the left hand side, I would be exposed to a hidden gem full of pure happiness.

I know it sounds weird– finding bliss in a bathroom…in an academic building? Let me elaborate. Every stall in the bathroom is full of writing, which is quite coincidental for the English department if you ask me.

(Photo courtesy of flickr.com)

I was pleasantly taken back when I first saw the messages. There’s a mosh posh of the following:

  • Memorable quotes like, “I remember that it hurt, looking at her hurt” (shout out to my favorite movie, Stuck in Love), “Well behaved women seldom make history” (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich), and “Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters, make a difference for another today” (Amy Leigh Mercree).
  •  Lyrics from songs, including basically every line from every T. Swift album. Ever.
  • Compliments including “Things might be hard now, but you will get through it. You are stronger than you think,” “Love yourself deeply,” and my personal favorites written in humongous letters: “You are beautiful,” “You are loved,” and “You are enough.”
  •  Poems like “I have galaxies hidden between my bones and I will love you until the stars burn out” and “Unless you love someone, nothing else makes sense.”

I ventured up to the second floor ladies room, expecting to find walls sporting the same positive graffiti, but they were bare. It honestly compares to a diamond in the rough, considering it is a public restroom, after all. Most bathrooms have vulgar language– mean things about girls named Suzie, or a boy’s name surrounded by a heart. I was definitely not expecting to see what I saw but I sure am glad that my bladder forced me to go in there.

(Photo courtesy of theblacksheeponline.com)

As I stood there washing my hands, looking in the mirror, I began to reflect.  Deep, I know. In high school, I often got picked on for being tall– being 16 and 6’ leads to a lot of Green Giant references. I always wondered about why my nose was too big and why my boobs weren’t, why my laugh was often too loud or sounded like something was dying and I was often compared to other tall girls who were much skinner than me. Society holds young people up to the highest standards and leaves us reaching for unrealistic things.

After struggling through self-esteem issues growing up– like I’m sure everyone else has dealt with– and now standing in the bathroom of Ellis Hall at my dream school lead me to believe one thing: kind words like the ones scattered across the stalls are what this world and this generation needs. Those positive phrases really did make my entire day and I walked about flaunting a smile for the rest of the afternoon.

It’s really great that I was able to encounter that, and I think it would be wonderful if other colleges picked up the idea and ran with it because these acts of kindness stick with you. Who knew that a quick bathroom break would double as a confidence booster? One of the writings in the second stall reads “One day, you will be 33 and you’ll revisit OU and it will still smell the same, look the same, and you will still love it” (HFR & JZ, Class of ’05). I love that one in particular, not only because it’s OU related, but because I know that when I graduate in four years, that the day I found the poetic and inspirational writings on the walls in the bathrooms of Ellis Hall will be one that I will remember forever.

(Photo courtesy of Maddie Ballas)

Slightly poetic and most likely taller than you.
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