When we emerge from the womb we are a blank canvas. As we live our lives, different people leave their mark on our canvas in different ways. We are all artists, leaving our paint on others. Whether we realize it or not. Some will paint with large, sweeping strokes that change our entire being and others will only leave the slightest traces, soon to be forgotten entirely.
Our parents are the first ones to begin shaping our canvas. Luckily, I was blessed with two parents who loved me deeply. They made parenting their number one priority, and strove to do their best at all times. They painted with warm colors: reds and pinks. The colors of love. This original art has long since been covered up. But it still remains deep inside me, and I hope to share it with my children one day. Upon entering elementary school, my interactions with peers were mostly positive. They added little streaks of green and yellow. Fifth grade was the first time I ever experienced depression. It morphed my canvas, adding deep gashes of dark blue to something that was once filled with bright, cheerful color. It also warped the edges, fraying them and making me feel older then I actually was. Middle school was when other kids began to realize I was different. The bullying began, which covered up all the brightness that was left with splotches of black.
Then I met P. He saw my canvas for what it was: broken, sad and dark. He recognized weakness and fear. I allowed him to take my canvas for his own. At first, he painted it with the colors of love. However, he never fully covered up the scars of my past. Depression would still afflict me, long streaks of navy splashing across the deep reds P used. Eventually, P became frustrated with his artwork. He began to tear at my once beautiful painting, scorching it with fire and turning it black. Finally, when he was on the brink of destroying me entirely, I took my canvas back.
I have begun to repair the damage P did. I am slowly painting over the tattered ruins with a bright orange. The orange that represents me and is the essence of who I am. I am taking back myself, turning this canvas into a beautiful piece of art that is almost entirely my own. A adds streaks of purple, and S adds small yellow dots. But they just make me more original. Helping to shape me into this new self. This orange is vibrant and brilliant. It does not completely cover P’s carnage, but one day it will. Every day there is progress; I am growing into an individual. For now, I protect my canvas. Others are not allowed easy access to it. However, they can see the orange radiating from a distance. One day, I hope to join my canvas with someone else, to make an exquisite piece of art neither of us could accomplish without the other.