Tuesday, March 9, 2021


There's a bridge by my apartment complex that goes over the creek. Many youngsters have walked under it, leaving their words and opinions on the frame under the bridge with thick permanent markers or black spray paint. At one time, I enjoyed walking under it and up the path to get to the park, but with the graffiti there, not so much anymore... not even riding my mobility scooter. 

I often wondered why happy people didn't write graffiti. Can you imagine what it would be like to see all kinds of happy doodles of daisies, hearts, critters, art, and encouraging words? It seems like only the angry ones write graffiti... at least the ones I have personally seen. Have you ever noticed that?

One day about three months ago, I sent a message to a woman I met along the way who has the responsibility of taking teenagers who are assigned community service to the job sites and supervising their work. I suggested this graffiti cleanup as a project. She had to talk to city management first. About two months later, she notified me that she got the approval from the city and that they took care of it.

Like (depressed) teenagers do.
With a roller and white paint.
Just over words.
Just to get the job done.
No fancy shapes.
No interest in making it look nice.  
Maybe they were the ones who wrote the words.

Now, instead of words, there are misshaped squares of white paint on top of gray dirty cement… a permanent reminder (to me, anyway) that demeaning words used to be there. 

Maybe I could have contacted the art community instead… the people who are painting beautiful murals all over town.

What inspired this post?

I am still doing the work of cleaning up my mind… which I recently heard is called post-traumatic growth. The book Reclaim Your Life: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 7 Weeks came in the mail, and I read through the first lesson. I love the analogy of your thoughts being like passengers on a bus. You are the one driving the bus, so you decide where you are taking the passengers (thoughts).

Then the thought of the graffiti came to me… my uncomfortable thoughts are like graffiti in my mind... words that poisoned my memories, my health, and my nervous system.


Maybe I can search my memories for the offending words, write them down on a piece of paper, and paint white-out or gesso over them. Nothing fancy. I could do it like the teenagers did.

Do you think it will work?

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