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Memories. Flooding, catastrophic, beautiful, heartbreaking, blissful memories. They shape me; color my blank canvas like daring paintbrushes, splashes of the rainbow, of emotions, slowly forming a familiar painting. The picture of me.

I study the painting; study the lines, the shapes, the crazy curves and swirls, trying to define myself. A history is spun by those streaks of color, a history of happiness, of sadness, anger and confusion. A red circle catches my eye first: red, defining, impactful, like the day my father told me he had cancer. The red is determined to cover the lighter pinks and blues, cheerful days of my childhood, my father and I gardening together and playing football. He did not care that I was a girl: he played fair and square, taught me to respect any man or woman. But the cancer took that chipper disposition with it, and put a stranger in its place. The red overtook the faint-hearted pastels, leaving a disturbing, unwanted blotch in their wake.

Swirls of violet center themselves at the core of the canvas, affection bubbling from every drop of paint. Love conquers all, my mother told me, love spewing from my dear family and friends, who comfort my grief and rejoice in my success. I see their faces within the purple paint, my doting grandmother and grandfather, comical uncles, caring aunts, indescribable cousins and my sweet, but fiercely independent sister, always there like an unyielding stone. Passion wells inside my soul: how lucky I am to have an impressionable family. Like purple swirls they add color and creativity to my days.

Faint tremors of green barely dot the background, growing larger and larger till they challenge the reds for dominance. They are the questions, the burning, almost consuming questions that have not been answered. They are the thoughts I sit and fret like a frightened child about, they are the answers I may never find. Who can answer me, what is the secret of life? What is the cure for constant thought? What is the solution to a challenging present? The green blossoms, a meadow of hues and textures, all questions with no answers. An annoying wall of thriving ivy that has yet to be cut down, till the tree makes sense again.

Soon, like an angry hive of bees, yellow and black begin to argue. The sunshine days and the black clouds, clashing, battling, for control. Graduation, trips to the beach, heartwarming conversations with loved ones mash into my grandfather’s death, bouts of boredom-depression and the incapability to find what I want in life. Yellow, purity, bliss, then black, darkness, melancholy frustration, emotions, roaring lions and tigers drowning out calls for peace and compromise. There’s no common ground, no separating the two, nothing to end the quarrel except…white.

White, blankness, sallow canvas, and now so graffitied it has become unrecognizable in the crowd. Colors cry out from every corner, begging for attention, pushing and shoving their competition out of the way. When their efforts are to no use: I want white, I want a clean slate, a blank canvas to start the painting again. My life has only begun, yet it is so crowded, not even I can tell what the picture is. Where is the page I started with, clean and free to color, to design, to paint my history? Where is the familiarity I began with, that has now transformed into chaos and uncertainty? Where is my eraser so that I may start this artwork over again?



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