The writing on the wall – By @nearsanctum182

By Leanne Spencer


The writing on the wall


Let me set the scene a little. 


The year was 2012 and a pubescent Leanne had just discovered the joys of screamo music and the apocalypse prediction. This culminated into a growing interest in imagery that was in stark contrast to her Catholic upbringing. 

Then came summer, and some 3 months alone with my thoughts and lack of impulse control. 


One day, my mother innocently knocks on my bedroom door, no doubt looking for her daughter. Upon opening the door, she instead finds her child blasting what could only sound like anguished cries, and drawing on her wall (in permanent marker) a very detailed drawing of what easily passed for a whole demon.


This is the reference I was working from. Though 14, I was already a formidable artist (if I do say so myself) so imagine this level of detail, but three feet tall and etched against my pink wallpaper. 


I didn’t ask first, of course. You didn’t need to be a genius to see that ‘no’ coming. However, by the time she walked in, I was already about 60% of the way through the drawing and was, in fact, adding shading to his demon-teeth. 


It felt like the moment went in slow motion. We caught each other’s eyes and froze like deer in headlights. Her gaze swapped between me and the abomination on the wall. It felt as though I could see the wheels turning in her head. If she punished me, it might disparage my desire to draw in future. However, on the other hand, who the f*ck do I think I am, drawing on the walls like I pay any damn bills. 



It was a very tense stand-off. She held my future (living arrangements) in her hands and even through the haze of teenage rebellion I could see how badly I may have potentially screwed myself. 


In the end, she broke the tie. The two warring gods in her head could not come to a decision and so came to a compromise.  

My room had a door, and therefore whatever foolishness I decided to express on the walls I didn’t pay for, could be hidden from view. 


Without saying a word, my mother just shook her head, turned around and closed the door behind her. I got right back to my persistent blasphemy. 


In truth, I wasn’t really worshipping satan. The image came from the wildly popular anime ‘Bleach’ that took heavy inspiration from Japanese legends surrounding death. 


It was just a cartoon I liked. 


Within the same summer, the three-foot Ichigo on my wall was joined by Kim Possible, Danny Phantom, Yami from Yu-gi-oh and Ben-10. 


I’m sure she complained at some point, once I started experimenting with graffiti styles and painted “Bite me” in one corner of the room” and “Screw You” in another but, she never got mad. 


I’m not sure to what extent this led to a career in creativity but, it was nice to have the space to push boundaries. 


The icing on the cake was when I moved out for uni and my mom decided to have some renovations done on our family home. I sat gleefully on the other side of the phone and heard of how it took 14 layers of paint and wallpaper to cover my murals up in their entirety, In fact, the “screw you” was so difficult to paper over it allegedly almost brought the poor craftsman to tears. 


Make your mark, kids. 


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