Be The Creator of Your Own Masterpiece

At an art class one day the art teacher approached me and said, “Don’t be afraid to get a little brave and free with it. You’re afraid to make a mistake, I can smell it on you.”

She wasn’t wrong. I tensely held my paintbrush, remembering all the moments I had colored in between the lines for the sake of not drawing too much attention. It wasn’t the mistakes I was afraid of making. I was fearful of making the wrong ones. Those people don’t overlook so easily. The ones in bold, red strokes on a white canvas.

But then I thought of all the times I had joyfully colored outside the lines: when I publicly questioned my teachers in junior high and high school; when I was outspoken in my opinions; when I broke (many) rules as a child; when I wandered further than I had permission to, trying to find the boundaries of my freedom. In each of those moments, there was always someone there to reprimand me for missing the lines. I was scolded, I was used as an example of what not to do, and I was pressured by disapproval. The message was clear, and I wasn’t listening: FOLLOW THE DAMN RULES.

But now I wonder if the consistency of people who have redirected my behavior overtime has inevitably influenced me. Have I begun to follow the rules? Do I tread lightly now to avoid u