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Emily Saldivia: “Finger Paints”

Tomorrow's Voices Today

I stared at the exploding canvas in front of me. The paint was dripping down and splattering onto the concrete of my backyard. It would stay there forever; acrylic paint is almost impossible to get off of anything. My palms were drenched in blue, red, and yellow but they mixed together to make an awful shade of brown. I wanted to rub my hands all over the wet canvas to blend the primary colors together but I didn’t dare to move. It looked too perfect. But not perfect in the pretty way. No, the painting was perfectly imperfect.

It showed everything I was feeling. Rage. Emotion. Life. Somehow every little detail that was bottled up in my chest was splattered imperfectly on a canvas. My arms were sore, they hurt from all the throwing of almost empty paint bottles where they laid lifelessly on the old sheets from my old bed from when I was in elementary.

I grabbed the dirty cloth. It smelled like Windex, bleach, paint, and old candy. The fabric seemed so breakable as I clenched it in my fist. Did my seven year old self ever imagine that I would turn out like this when I grew up?

Never.

*

But I guess life never goes as planned. As I look back, I would give everything to be as young as I once was. Another drop of yellow paint dripped to the floor. I was once yellow. I was once full of life, excitement, and joy. But it all drained out of me. Like the empty paint bottles.

And then I grew older, and I got confused. I was thrown off the road that I so desperately wanted to be a part of as a child. And from the bright and bursting yellow that I once was, I was replaced by blue. The somber shade of blue swallowed up my heart and soul.

I wanted nothing more than to be everything but a single color. I wanted to be blue, red and yellow all at once. I wanted to be filled with questioning blue, courageous red, and binding yellow.

I glanced at the Mason jar that was full of crusty paint brushes. I wanted to grab a brush and make a picture out of the splatter of paint that was on the canvas. But, then the painting wouldn’t be mine. It wouldn’t be me. Because I am not a perfect picture. I was once a white, plain, blank canvas but then life threw color at me. Making a pretty picture out of color of life wouldn’t make it a living masterpiece. Another splatter of paint dripped to the ground. I smiled.

Jackson Pollock would be proud of me.

I am a creative person and I relish in the emotions that are hidden behind colors and words. I want people to feel the way I do, to see situations from my point of view, and to live behind my eyes. People call me a dreamer, one who gets too wrapped up in imagination rather than the living world. Making a change has always been my top priority. And it doesn’t have to be a large impact, but I want to do something that is meaningful with my life. No one else is as committed to this belief as I am.  I want to be the author who writes a book that makes a little girl smile because she wishes she was in the pages. I want to create art that will make a lonely boy feel like he’s not alone anymore. I want to do something creative that will change someone.

I don’t care if I don’t become the next Gandhi, or Picasso, or J.K. Rowling. I don’t want to be any of them. I want to be the girl who is known for wanting and achieving more than just what is at arm’s reach.

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