Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scraping off the paint

There is a poem I read as a teenager that I've always loved. Its called Paintbrush, author unknown, and I read it in a Chicken Soup for The Teenage Soul book:

I keep my paintbrush with me,
Wherever I may go,
In case I need to cover up,
So the real me doesn't show.
I'm so afraid to show me to you,
Afraid of what you'll do,
That you might laugh or say mean things,
I'm afraid I might lose you.
I'd like to remove all of my paint coats,
To show you the real, true me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
Now my coats are all stripped off,
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love me with all that you see,
You're my friend pure as gold.
I need to keep my paintbrush with me,
And hold it in my hand.
I want to keep it handy,
In case somebody doesn't understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true.
But I need to keep my paintbrush with me,
Until I love me too.

I loved this poem. It was my mantra. It reinforced the idea that it was ok to act like someone I wasn't to protect myself. And I guess that was ok for then.

But I think I've finally gotten to the point where I love me, too. So now I am trying to strip off all my paint coats and show everyone the real, true me. Because I've seen the damage that comes when you marry someone while you've got your paintbrush handy. . . and it ain't pretty. I never want to make that mistake again.

Part of the problem, though, is I don't really know who I am. I'm still trying to figure that out. And maybe I won't ever figure that out completely. Right now, I know that I am a child of God, a single mother to 4 beautiful girls, a daughter, a sister, a friend. . . I try to do my best in everything I do. I'm not perfect. I'm opinionated, bossy, and intollerant of stupid people. I love children and cats and dogs (as long as they belong to someone else), good times, good friends and good food. I love life, fiber arts, and I want to learn how to dance. I'm sure I'll change and learn more about me along the way, but that's who I am now and I love me. :)

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