By: Christine McFarlane
I'm sitting at my desk, in my one room apartment staring at the four immediate beige walls that surround me. Well there's really five walls if you count the wall where the entrance to my apartment is but I'm sticking to the number four for now. Four is what I see in my immediate surroundings. Maybe I'll come back to number five later.
I've always despised uneven numbers. Its an idiosyncrasy I've had since I was little. Even numbers gave me order when chaos ensued around me. Even now when my life seems pretty darn good, I still find it quite comforting when I find myself inhale.....with the count of 1....exhaling at the count of 2... inhaling at the count of 3... and a big WHOOSH escaping my dry cottony feeling mouth as I reach the number 4. I can feel my chest heaving inwards and my ribs expanding to make access for each bout of air my lungs bring in, and my heart slowing down and going back to a slow and steady pace.
Did I tell you, that when I'm doing this exercise, its often to get me focused and to ease the panic that often arises within, when I have been staring at my four walls too much. But that's a distraction from what I really want to say- I want to tell you that walls hold stories-that the walls of your residence hold stories. Stories from past residents, current residents and stories yet to be told by future residents. Its really not that far fetched, if you really sat down and thought about it.
Come on, sit down and try this exercise. Sit at your desk, or wherever you are the most in your apartment or house, and look at the immediate walls surrounding you. Really concentrate, look at everything you have or don't have on your walls and ask yourself, what do my walls say about me?
Four beige walls surround me. They hold different things upon them. I believe that each wall tells a story, by the way I have decorated it or not. Wall number one is to the left of me, its surface somewhat smooth but bumpy here and there, if you really look closely at it. It holds a poster that a friend gave me, the poster says
ABUSE IS WRONG.... It Takes Courage to Heal....
This poster represents one aspect of my life, and my stance on what I know is wrong-the abuse I experienced as a child and something as an adult I have torn myself away from. It has taken courage for me to continue healing. Nothing else sits on this wall, I'm not sure why.
Wall number two is the wall in front of me. It holds the things I have worked hard to achieve- my degree from the University of Toronto, a plaque that represents the President's Award that I won. It holds a column I once wrote, that says "words have more power than you think," a post it note that has the Seven Grandfather Teachings on them, a picture of a medicine wheel, a card that reminds me to believe in myself, a painting of a bear in a field of flowers, a little drawing of a flower that my second youngest niece gave me and a drum that a friend made me, that I am still shy about using, for fear my voice will not accompany it right. Everything on this wall is placed just right and holds so much more than my other walls, I'm really not sure why
Wall number three is to the right of me. It holds what I hope to see flying in the sky one day- a Canadian flag that proudly holds a First Nations warrior amongst the Canadian flag. It's the original flag, or the Canadian flag and what it should represent- First Nations people as a part of the Canadian fabric, instead of apart from everyone else, a poster of the view of family circles in the Ojibway worldview, and the shelf that holds a multitude of books I love to read over and over again. A love for reading instilled in me since I was young and a love that I'm glad never died inside me, no matter where my life took me.
Wall four is directly behind me. It doesn't hold a lot, maybe because it is a part of my past. A part that I know I still need to reconcile with. It holds a light pink bathrobe, hanging on the back of my closet door, to me that represents comfort, though I never really wear it. Further down there is a picture of my biological mother, but I cannot bring myself to move it closer, so that I can see it every day because inside the pain is still too much.
I'm sitting at my desk, in my one room apartment staring at the four immediate beige walls that surround me. Well, there's really five walls if you count the wall where the entrance to my apartment is but I'm sticking to the number four for now. Four is what I see in my immediate surroundings. Maybe I'll come back to number five later.
Well...okay, I might as well tell you-wall number five holds the exit to my safe surroundings. When I want to be daring and join the real world, I plant my two feet on the ground, start walking and hold my head high. I open the door and step out. My four walls don't always have to define who I am and what I am do they now?