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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, June 16, 2024

An Open Letter to Tisch's Bathroom Graffitists

Dear Graffitists in the Tisch Bathroom,

During my first major Tisch study session of college, I found myself in the first stall of the first-floor bathroom.  My head was whirring with calculations of how many pages of reading I had left, how long my French homework would take and whether or not I had time to grab a snack before practice. But you, my dear vandalizers, snapped me out of all that.

There are several separate notes written on the metal stall wall, all messily scribbled in pen and pencil and going in different directions and slants. A few excerpts read as follows: 1) “‘God is dead’ -Nietzsche; ‘Nietzsche is dead’ -God; ‘Nietzsche is God’ -the dead.” 2) “I feel so fat. I want to feel pretty again,” which is next to the reply 3) “Skinny and pretty are not mutually exclusive.” 4) “You are a warrior.”

Sound familiar to anyone? If by any chance you were the person behind any of these, thank you. First of all, you took what could have been a mindless bathroom break and made me think. Not about my own schedule, or work, or reminders, but about the world, Tufts and the people behind the notes.

I wonder what you look like and how you were feeling on the days that you wrote those things. I wonder if you have a habit of writing on bathroom walls or if this was the first and only time you’ve thought to do so. If you could go back, I wonder if you’d still want to write those same things. One of the cool things about graffiti is that you’ll likely never know the people behind it. When we see a painting, the artist’s name is on a plaque to the side. A book has its author on the cover. But with the graffiti, the act stands unaffiliated.

I couldn’t help trying to imagine the kinds of people I think you’d be, though — and that’s the biggest reason why I’m thanking you. Because that bathroom stall reminded me of why I came to Tufts. I picture one of you as a nerdy reader, and one as a long-haired, selfie-posting fashionista. Another might be the person who embraces mud, sweat, tears and dreams of becoming Mulan, or perhaps one of you is utterly unremarkable, a seemingly quiet girl but with a head bursting with thoughts.

Granted, I’m stereotyping and probably overthinking all this. But for me, your graffiti painted a picture of a school with all shapes, shades, sizes and sorts of people. It brought to mind a culture where people could be nerdy, and where support and re-defined beauty weren’t lame. It reminded me that I’m in a place where people have complicated, amazing, diverse, interesting, kind thoughts — thoughts that they decided should have a home on a bathroom wall.

And so, anonymous vandals, thank you for your petty crime, thank you for reminding me why I’m here and thank you for being you.


Clara Wagner