Blank Canvas

Room 108.

The walls are stripped bare, with only unreachable staples, leftover velcro and miniscule push pin holes left as evidence of what used to be.

The last time I had seen these bare walls was 10 months ago, as I stepped into my very own classroom for the first time. The walls were freshly painted, I had boxes of new IKEA furniture, and this classroom was mine - my own - completely under my control.

It was my blank canvas.

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Ten months ago, I felt nervous yet excited to make this blank canvas my own. It’s crazy to think that it has been less than a year since I began my work, but here I am, leaving it bare yet again to be painted over, memories erased, for a new artist.

Stirrings of regret have been surfacing in my mind this week, and I can’t help but question whether or not my decision had been made too hastily, too selfishly, too dependent on the extremes of my emotions.

Did I give up too early? How could so much have changed within 10 months? Is it possible that the dreams I had for this space had faded so quickly into nothingness? What if I could have stayed another year or two, preserved those memories, perfected my art, and made this canvas my home?

But I catch myself. I’m not giving up. Change does not mean I am running away. My decision did not come from fear of the present, but excitement for what could be in the future. And in that moment, I realize. I am not leaving this job to move away from something. I am leaving to move forward.

I created my memories on those blank walls, and it’s time for someone else to do the same in that space. But the uncertainty I have for the future - that is my new blank canvas. And it’s not confined to four walls, twenty-four children and one-hundred-eighty days. It is not limited by physical space and time, and it’s not one that I have to strip away when I decide to move forward. My new blank canvas will not preserve itself only in memory, and I do not have to erase its existence for the next artist. It is boundless, brimming with potential, and entirely up to me to create.

The next masterpiece is on the horizon.

Victoria Wang