Tickle Me Pink

Colors. Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Raw Umber, Tickle Me Pink. Each brings a new mood, a new life to the empty canvas.

My imagination tears across the page, leaving trails of creativity. Each stroke wanders joyously over the printed guidelines, ignoring them for all they are worth. My hand desperately tries to keep up as my mind explodes with inspiration. Every squiggle jumps out of the crayon, eager to add to the epiphany of hopes and dreams. The colors consume me and convince me that life is, and always will be, full of happiness, excitement, and endless possibilities.

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That was my childhood. Now, multiple bold lines restrict me and act as iron gates, trapping my imagination. I’m surrounded on all sides as they taunt and remind me of my shortcomings, failures, and inadequacy. My gradient of hues has turned from radiant to grayscale. Teachers taught me only “outstanding” students are worthy of attention. Time-out taught me I must obey every rule in order to be included.

Grades taught me if I didn’t succumb to black-and-white directions, my parents would reject me. Homework taught me to chain myself to my desk and prioritize everything before my own desires. School has taught me that I must trudge through my whole life doing something I hate because I wouldn’t be able to make a living otherwise. For the first time, my creation and work means something other than happiness to me. Instead of immersing myself in my imagination, I’m constantly typing up resumes and essays to impress and please someone else, and not myself. My work is not my own—there is none of me in it, and it is not a part of me.

School has made my own work mean nothing to me. I’ve lost my ability to inspire and create. I’ve lost my carefree innocence. I’ve lost my meaning and definition of life. I’m so accustomed to the strict guidelines that a blank canvas frightens me. I wish I had my crayons.