“You’re not pretty.
Don’t wear that.
That’s not for you.
That’s not your color.
That’s not the right style.
You’re not worth my time.
You should change everything you do.
You should change your career.
That’s a waste of your time.
That’s all wrong for you.
Change your schedule.
Be a different person.
Don’t be you.”
The voices in her head rang clear in her mind what she had come to expect to hear from all around her. She wanted to silence them, to tell them to shut the hell up, to mind their own business. But everyday she woke up, she faced them, she fought them. Everyday she battled those who thought she was too different, not the cookie cutter replica of what they thought she should be. She felt the doubts creep in. She felt the worries overtake her. She could feel herself drowning under every thought and every opinion. She wanted to scream and she wanted to cry.
She had faced her own demons her entire life, she had faced other’s demons, and she had fought against the tide of those who found different to be wrong. She had fought the tide of illogical, the sweep of stupidity, and the waves of uncertainty, and still she held her head above water, but she could feel her feet floundering. She worried she would not have the strength to keep fighting, and would end up listening to every naysayer, giving into what they said. But then, in a moment of clarity, in a moment sharp as lightning, all the words silenced in her mind, all the doubts quieted and the fears fell away and she heard one voice, loving and clear as a bell.
“You are loved. You are mine. You are beautiful just the way you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are precious in My sight.”
She looked out the dark window to the twinkling lights of the city. She had come here for a purpose. She had come to find her path, to forge a new life. She had fought against all those who had questioned her. She reminded herself of her purpose. She knew what life could bring her, if she chased the dreams she started so long ago. She thought of her name, her name that reminded her of what she could look to. Hope, and hope is what she was filled with once again.
She looked up towards the starry sky, that hope and joy filling her soul, as she felt a peace in her heart, a peace from the one who grants peace to all, grants comfort in the midst of all sorrows and pain. With her eyes open, she prayed in the dark of the night.
“Thank you, Father in Heaven, for your infinite truths. I have doubted myself and I have doubted You. I have fallen away from You and I have come running back to you. I have lost You and I have found You. But You never lost me, You never forsook me. I am loved. I am unique. I am beautiful and a treasure to be found.”
Making her way to her easel in the corner of her room, where it had sat with a blank canvas for over a month, for every time she had sat down to it, fear had struck her and doubts had stopped her. But now, the muse had returned, and what she had thought was impossible, became possible in her mind. It became reality in her hands as she took the brush, and stroke after stroke brought her dreams to life. Some dreams were dark and painful, others bright and exciting, but with each dab of paint, with each line across the canvas and mixing of colors, she filled the canvas with her talent, the talent she had quieted for so long, the talent she had thought was not there, because no one had believed in her.
As the sun dawned clear and bright that morning, she walked past the haters, she flew beyond the opinions, over those who thought she couldn’t do it and she soared, with flying colors, she soared above it all.
The next month, Hope had her first gallery showing and her paintings were showcased for all to see. And what was her exhibit called?
“My Demons – The Ones I Fight and the Ones I Cuddle.”
Photo: Bruce Holwerda – Day Break
Billy Joel – My Life
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
– Albert Einstein