When it comes to career, each and everyone in this family has theirs planned out before they were even born. Everybody is required to become a soldier to protect and live for the country. I mean, that’s not bad, but what about me? My dreams of being an artist.
Here I am seated in front of a blank canvas. A paintbrush at hand. Cans full of various colors and my wild imagination. These are everything that I need to create for my masterpiece.
A masterpiece that would tell my life story to every person who looks at it. I want them to know whom the painter is just by looking at the work. I want to tell them a story, a story in which not a single family member would allow to be spoken.
Reminiscing a tragic encounter with my parents a few days ago sent a flood on emotions in my system. My paintbrush dipped in anger. Anger for each member of the family for not supporting my dream. Anger for the people who just stood there and watched while my parents shouted, slapped, and almost threw me out of the house.
Next was frustration. Frustration from choosing between my passion and the family tradition, which started even before my great great grandparents were born. Frustration for myself. I kept asking why did I choose a different path from everyone else? What did I do wrong to deserve this situation I am in right now? Why can’t they just support me and feel happy for me?
Tears started to fall, and I let them. These tears would help me to perfect this masterpiece. I thought to myself.
Fear was next. Fear from not being recognized by the people you love most. Fear from rejection in the entire family. Fear of not achieving your goal and them saying ‘I told you so’.
My hands kept on painting on the pure canvas, which I consider ‘me’. Every stroke of the paintbrush is packed with emotions I felt that day.
Disgust followed suit. Disgust for the long family tradition, which shackled everyone from flying up to the sky and reach their goals, dreams, and aspirations in life. Disgust for the people who still followed this tradition even if they disagree.
I kept on putting color. My emotions got the better of me, and I started splashing colors in the canvas. It almost looked finished, but I kept ongoing. Every brush stroke and a splash of paint was harsh. Some paint landed on my over-sized shirt, my arms, my exposed legs, and some on the floor.
“Why do you look so dark? Do I look like that, now?” My voice broke when I spoke. Seeing the canvas in front of me looking so dark made me sob. My legs became weak that they can no longer support my weight. My face was like a waterfall, but it isn’t a sight to view.
“I have to finish me.” I tried my best to stand up and gain balance. “You can do this.” I sniffled, and with hands full of paint I wiped my face.
I looked at my masterpiece again. This time a sad smile surfaced on my face. I exhaled and picked up the brush that was on the floor.
“You look so sad and dark, buddy. Let’s finish you up.” I sat down and looked at the cans of emotion in front of me. “Let’s add sadness.” This time I stroked carefully, full of caution.
‘I’m sorry. I couldn’t do anything. I myself can’t do anything when it was me in your situation.’ I remembered what my brother told me that day after the argument. It’s like he was here next to me while remembering each word. My tears fell again.
I felt sad for him and for the people who wanted to be different, but fear consumed them. I felt sad for the goals they could have achieved if they were allowed to do so. I felt sad for the shattered dreams.
I looked at regret and decided to put a little. I regret that day, I was able to fight back at my parents for insisting on becoming an artist instead of a soldier. I regret every hurtful word that came out of my mouth that day. The words that made my Mom blue and my Dad red.
After regret, I looked at ‘me’ again. She was almost perfect with the additional colors, but something’s still missing.
“Ah, I remember.” I stood up and rummaged through the paint cabinet to look for forgiveness. “There you are.” I shook it while walking back to my seat, to get the desired color I want. “Let’s add you here, mate.” I dipped my brush and started putting forgiveness on the canvas.
I might not be able to let go of this passion, this dream. I already imagined myself in a museum with my artworks displayed and viewed by many. Each piece symbolizes me. Every struggle and achievement along the way is painted on a blank canvas.
“There you go. You’re all done.” I looked at it with a contented smile. “You might not look perfect now, but time will come, and they would be able to accept you.” A tear escaped from my eye, and I let it fall. I didn’t wipe it because it's a symbol of me being strong even though a typhoon is about to hit me head-on.
I started cleaning up. Every paintbrush used was put in a container for me to clean. Every can of paint was closed tightly and placed inside the paint cabinet. I took the canvas and looked at it with awe.
“You look perfect in my eyes, and people will adore you like how a family should.” I placed it down slowly beside my other works and left it there to dry.
I decided to go down stairs and face my whole family. I’ll fight for my dream. This time in a polite manner without using hurtful words. I’ll convey my feelings to them like how I did on my canvas.