I thought it was the hammering that scared me because I didn’t want to scar a wall with 25 billion holes or cause a racket so loud as to disturb my neighbors. There was also the measuring/math needed. Blank walls were minimalist and I liked that my apartment wasn’t cluttered. Truth be told, I didn’t care/notice the blank walls.
Plus, there was the fact I didn’t plan to be here very long. *side eyes real estate market*
It was pointed out to me that maybe the temporary feeling of my apartment was infiltrating my heart. And besides, a few nail holes in the wall are an easy patch job. They are not the sign of a demon tenant. Maybe adding a few things to make the apartment feel like a home – my home – would keep the dark nighttime shadows away. (That and a vow to stop watching scary (for me) TV shows before bed.)
(The person who did the pointing out is a professional in case that wasn’t obvious by her spot on assessment of my ridiculous thought patterns.)
And so I youtubed “how to hang a picture.” The resulting video made it seem so easy. I read an article about gallery walls and arranging the smaller pictures within a larger pattern. “I’ve got this,” I thought and pulled out came the frames I wanted began arranging them on the floor. I drew a not-to-scale diagram on stationary left over from my first full time job. Memories old and new swirled as I jostled the pictures into a variety of placements.
Out came the flower powered tool kit my godmother gave me and I got even further down to work.
I measured each picture, then the entire arrangement. I glanced at the spot I intended to hang the pictures and it was growing in size, looming larger than it had when I started this project.
All forward momentum stalled.
My mom’s response to my SOS was advice was dolled out in texts too long to fit on one screen. She echoed the Lowe’s video, but I was now a body at rest. (Hello, Newton’s Laws. Thank you, High School Science Class.)
Then she said:
The idea of plotting out the exact layout on paper first, of putting pencil to paper, of writing a rough draft first, of making my mistakes on paper rather than the wall resonated with the oversized “play it safe” portion of my brain.
Of course I misjudged and bought just shy of enough poster board but was already back from the store and I had to scrounge up 6 blank notebook pages to tape around the edges and then the whole thing measured right but was way bigger than the area I’d laid the pictures on before but I kept the momentum and traced and eyeballed and measured again and vertigo and marked out the nail/picture hook spots on the poster board and taped the skeleton on the wall and shifted it left and stepped back and shifted it further left and stepped back and pulled the right side higher and stepped back and shrugged my shoulders.
The package of hooks open with a thump thump thump of my heart. The hammer sang.
There was a terror of adrenaline, a thrill in making a mark, a strangely cavalier taste in my mouth after all that planning.
Adjustments were made as reality replaced pencil marks. Two pictures needed multiple passes, and I bent a hook past the point of usability, and lost a nail, and discovered a colony of dust bunnies behind the couch, but overall, nothing tragic happened.
Nothing epic happened either.
I mean, come on, it’s clearly not perfect, but there’s satisfaction in the concreteness of what my hands can do. And now, the art created by others (mostly) for me has transformed into another art form. They’ve risen to a higher plane.
As have I knowing I’m capable of more than I thought.