I have always loved colour. The burnt orange transforming into a deep red in the fall, the tranquility of an ocean at twilight mirroring the darkening sky, these colors are what I fall in love with. The first time I picked up a paintbrush, my tiny palm couldn’t even hold the instrument properly. Nevertheless, I dipped it into a glob of green paint and started my first masterpiece.
In that moment, something had sparked in me. When exploring the idea of religion, I realized how often a light was talked about; a light seen when one has reached the pinnacle of their spiritual journey. It was supposed to be a sign of perpetual bliss. Even though I had never visited a place of worship, I had found my light.
And so, my interest continued. My parents’ faces lit up with joy and deep love for their baby boy, who at such a young age had already picked up a hobby. My crayons would attack anything in reach, leaving our white walls stained with remnants of sunsets and puppies. Their expressions soon turned to disappointment when I started high school. The only A’s I would receive were in art, and this was perfectly okay with me. I would bring home my framed canvases hoping for some kind of reaction, some sign of approval or encouragement, but instead I would notice apprehensive glances and shallow smiles. The light started to fade. I was branded as a failure because my strength wasn’t school, like that was the only possible way to measure someone’s worth. Eventually, I gave up on trying to conform to their idea of success.
When I met my now ex girlfriend, I stared into her eyes for as long as possible without seeming overly eager. It was the only time I had ever seen eyes that looked as if all the color had been sucked out of them, a grey that could only be described as loneliness. I took her to my studio after our first date; it took her breath away. I spent hours on end trying to perfect a color that matched her eyes, but I never succeeded. Months went by, and she started asking me if I was ever going to get a “real job”. Is art not the most real thing one can possess? She got tired of my charcoal pencils scattered around her apartment, and me waking her up at 3 am because an idea had come to me in a dream. I tried to change, to stop for even a few hours, but it was, is, my addiction. I could feel the light dimming more; I had never felt so empty. My fingers longed for a brush more than they ever did for her hand.
Now, I look around and see chaos. Beautiful chaos. My loft is complete with artwork from every country I have visited; my unfinished pieces lie scattered across the floor. Every once in a while, my parents will visit. The conversations we have are always polite, but never breaking the surface. I am okay with this. Creating beauty has always meant more to me than any form of human interaction.
The mirror in front of me shows a man with passion seeping from his veins. Too long I have spent attempting to conceal the glowing lamp inside of me, begging to be released. Now, I embrace it. I am alive. I am content. I may be ripped at every edge, but I am a work of art.