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If I were to paint a picture, would it be with paint or mud? I am not an artist, so I know it wouldn’t look realistic no matter what tools are used. Would I finger paint or use brushes? What would make my inner child most happy?

I was often taught how to paint the picture of perfection growing up. I was given the best tools to do so. The tools were burned in me, like a branding iron on a new calf at the ranch. But I often wonder what it would have been like if I were allowed to finger paint on the side of the barn with mud, unprompted. If I were allowed to go against the grain of my family dynamic, freely creating my own uniqueness without unnecessary discipline, fear of judgment, and being harshly punished for stepping out of my given role of scapegoat.

What if I were allowed to be whom I wanted to become? What if I would have had my own thoughts and interests embraced instead of smothered by everyone? My most burning questions written here on this paper. Things I often wonder sometimes. My mind wonders too much, I think (pun intended). I think my mind wanders too much.

I got tired of my mind, my body, and my soul being branded by the iron. I got tired of being told how to paint, where to paint, when to paint, and what my painting should look like. I mean, should not my painting look like I want it to look?

If things are perfect, they are often fake because nothing is perfect. Nowadays, no, scratch that. All the days of my life it seems that most people paint their lives perfectly, and hide behind their canvases. Myself, I would rather find those standing beside their messy canvases, proudly showing me their true colors, because that is me, too.

I will go on choosing how, when, where, and why I paint from now on.

Gretchen W

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