Is 2016 your year of creativity? If it is, I’ve got an idea for you.
After traveling in Southeast Asia, I came home for the holidays. I walked in, put my stuff away, and looked around at my room. My walls still hold the same paraphernalia from high school. At that time, my motto was “if you like it, stick it to your wall.”
I have layers upon layers of concert posters, magazine cutouts and photos. I had flags of eight different countries and souvenirs from all around the world. I started to take it all down. 2016 is time for a fresh start for a room I might never live in again. Right?
Some of my stuff went to Goodwill, some of it I threw away, and other things I saved if I’m ever a high school Spanish teacher. I’ll have a bomb room if I ever am. Then I found a box of goodies. Small pieces of paper. The use of these goodies doesn’t correspond to any of the above options-especially not being put in a Spanish teacher’s room.
These things should be recycled, reused, and re-gifted. What are they?
In high school, and again in college, my severe acne led my dermatologist to prescribe accutane. Pumping a thorough dose of Vitamin A into your system, it has several damaging side effects that I chose to deem unimportant.
The time I took it in high school gave me chronic bloody noses that usually hit around 1:15pm in Algebra II. My teacher usually excused me from the room with a hand pointed towards the door and wailed if it appeared I would touch anything. “There are health concerns!”
There are worse effects than bloody noses. The medication has the potential to cause severe birth defects if a patient becomes pregnant. This means proving two forms of birth control, taking monthly sexual education quizzes (not very effective if you ask me. Lots of room for cheating, and if you get an answer wrong they tell you what the right answer is before you retake the quiz), monthly urine pregnancy tests at the dermatologist (they don’t appreciate it when you decorate the cup. “We only need your first and last initial,” they scolded me), and best of all, visible reminders. The paper “goodies” I found in my room.
Each pill was individually wrapped with a cover. On the cover, there was a silhouette of a pregnant woman in a big red circle outline and a cross through it. Seeing the paper each day was like having a small voice in your ear yelling “DON’T GET PREGNANT!”
Years after taking my last “don’t get pregnant” pill, I was once again confronted with them. I had saved them all in a decorated box that was a gift from a friend.
Seeing them now inspired me to do something. In these half inch strips of anti-pregnancy was potential. Potential for creativity. Potential for making people think, “What the f***?”
My first order of business was to create something that unites my interests. Because I love the world (do I?) and sexual education (I was a sex positive au pair and an informational language assistant), I decided to make a world map covered in the strips.
In my head, it was going to be aesthetically pleasing, maybe even provocative.
What resulted from the brown glue I found in my parents’ desk drawer and the small size of the paper was like a Pintrest fail.
I didn’t give up after the first try. Inspiration for my next project came from the presence of my brother-in-law to be. He was spending his first holiday at our house as her fiance. A warm welcome was necessary.
This one still had the same low-quality glue and green dry erase marker and one of the letters is significantly smaller than the other. That aside, I’d argue it’s definitely a step above the previous project. Is this progress?
The third try was a greeting I sent to a friend I met while traveling. I wanted to wish him a very special 2016. All I want is for it to be pregnancy-free.
Finally, I wanted to send a thank you to a friend who had recently come to dinner. I knew he would appreciate the gesture.
This won’t be my last project. If you get a strange looking envelope with no return address, maybe you’re not infected with a chemically ridden terror tactic but rather a warm greeting for the coming year.
Until then, they’ll be here, in this box.