My family would probably be the first to tell you that I am a notorious paper-hoarder. Physical objects usually end up in the “donate to Goodwill” pile at some point, but I still have movie ticket stubs from 2012 for some reason. Eight years ago. And I assure you that’s not the oldest paper product in my possession.
At one point, I wanted to cover an entire wall of my bedroom with corkboard, or some equivalent. I insisted that it could be done. My parents told me I needed to calm down and got me to settle for three large bulletin boards, which did just as well.
And then I went to college. Obviously, I could not take all of my ticket stubs and theatre programs and postcards with me. It was a real shame too, because the walls in our dorm rooms came equipped with corkboards.
My first year, I didn’t use them so much. There were three of us in one room, and we had enough going on trying to survive our first year of college without worrying about decorations. I did pin a few things to make my space feel more homey, but looking back, the walls in my first dorm room look unbearably empty.
My second year, my roommate and I explored the annual poster sale together. When we went our separate ways at the end of the spring semester, I took custody of the Pokémon Go poster and she got the Stranger Things poster.
I also started collecting more paper that year. Tearable puns. Fortune cookie sayings. Stamps. Stickers. Wedding invitations. I pinned those up beside my desk.
In my third year of college, my roommate and I essentially split our room in half. We also had finally gotten enough credits to be eligible for a nicer dorm, which meant there were two very long walls equipped with corkboard. One wall for each of us. Days after moving in, I got to work re-pinning all of my posters and tickets and fortunes from over the years.
I’m in my last year of college now. One more iteration of the poster wall. I can see how they’ve evolved over time. Every year, I get to start fresh. The wall is a blank canvas that I get to fill. The walls become collages of a sort, though any actual artistry is purely coincidental. Now I focus more on posters, photos, and art prints, but I’m still a sentimental paper hoarder, so now my collection makes its home in a scrapbook.
Calling my collage a “poster wall” still doesn’t seem to do it justice in my mind. I think of it now as more of an “inspiration wall.” Because if I’m being honest, the posters and quotes and artwork that are up there is less an expression of things I’m a fan of (though it is that) and more an expression of what inspires me.
My favorite stories are there. Kind words that have been gifted to me are there. The people I love are there. Good memories are there.
Yes, it is probably more than a little jarring to walk into our bedroom and see what is essentially my brain exploded on a wall. But I like that. It’s an expression of who I am and where I come from, literally and figuratively. And when I look up from my desk, it makes me smile.