I am a struggling artist. There, I said it. Nope, scratch that. I am a FRUSTRATED artist. It's not that I am color blind or have no concept of what is beautiful and what is not. Each time I encounter an artistic opportunity, or whatever it is called nowadays, I rummage in the back of my mind for rules. What are the rules for this project? What are the Dos and Don'ts (is this how you write these?)? That kind of stuff. Thing is I am very much apprehensive and fearful of making mistakes. But then again, as far as I know, mistakes are very much welcome in art. In fact, mistakes can even be more beautiful than perfection (shoot me now, art teachers, if these sound blasphemous to you!). This is the first time that I will be talking about this and the real reason why lost the will to be an artist. Or to even try. Where it all began...
It was Art Time in my Nursery Class. Or Coloring Time, I don't remember what it was called. I found myself staring at my book, with a huge colorless cat filling up the entire page. I was ecstatic! I loved it! You see, I was never allowed to touch kitties when I was a little girl because I was asthmatic. About a couple of decades later, I outgrew it. The illness, not the love for cats, thank goodness (Arya, say thank you.).
And so I stared long and hard at the drawing, then at my crayon box, then back at the drawing... Finally, I decided; ORANGE it is. Yes, like the big cat that loiters in our backyard, probably wanting to say 'Hello' to me but didn't want the hassle of a complicated Romeo-Juliet kind of relationship. That day, I decided, I will color my cat orange and it will be mine. ALL MINE. So that's what I did... End of the day we gave our books to our teacher and said our goodbyes and see-you-tomorrows.
The following day, we got our books back. I was giddy and extremely excited to see my first pet cat. And of course, the Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes which has always been in me was also looking forward to the "Excellent!" teacher's remark on it, permanently confirming that I was then a brand new owner of an orange feline friend.
All my hopes and dreams were thrown out the window that morning when I received my book, rushed to check my kitty cat page and found a less than perfect mark from my teacher. I raised my hand and asked her why? Why? Why? Why wasn't my perfect orange cat found to be deserving of a perfect mark? I took time in coloring it, very very carefully, so as not to go beyond the lines. It was the most beautiful orange cat I've ever seen in my entire life. And it was mine.
"There are no orange cats," my teacher replied nonchalantly.
And at that moment, I froze. The world spun in front of my eyes. I quietly walked back to my seat. The rest of the day unfurled but I couldn't remember anything else that happened. I went home and told my Grandma about it. I think I asked her to talk to my teacher, to try to change her mind. To tell her that there are orange cats and that her granddaughter actually has a long-distance relationship with one, in the backyard.
Grandma talked to the teacher, or so she told me. But the verdict still stands. There is no orange cat. What a terrible thing to say! What simplistic way to shatter and stomp on a little girl's dreams of art, cats, and everything in between.Twenty-two years after, I finally muster the courage to raise one orange middle finger to the past.
THERE ARE ORANGE CATS.
And I am even fortunate enough to have them as part of my lives. In the past, the present, and hopefully, forever and ever.
This was our very own, ORENCH, snoozing the afternoon away...
|"I am Orench., and I am zzzzzz..."|
This is our ever-charming kitty friend, RUE of the PawsomeCats
with her Momma Jonna, whose family is made complete by Kuya Qish...
|"You mean... I am NOT orange? Now, I'm confused..."|
And of course, Nugget, our macho-gwapito, faraway furball friend,
who lives with his Mama Kate and best buddy, Kumo.
|"Who says I'm not orange. I'll sit on their faces!"|
I even had an orange kitten named Hello when I was in college.
She did not live long enough to read this post, sadly.
It wasn't even Biology class wherein you have to be precise about every living creature and all of its distinguishing traits. It was Art Class for goodness' sake! And for little kids, mind you. Had I been encouraged to do whatever I wanted to do with that cat drawing, had my efforts been fully appreciated, had my pretty orange cat been given the due credit and, uhm, respect, I could have been the youngest Filipino Picasso! But then again, perhaps if all of that happened, then I wouldn't have such strong feelings about the incident and you wouldn't be reading this beautiful post, not to mention being given the honor of appreciating my latest masterpiece, the first image on this post. Teehee!
In the end, I am just grateful that time had healed my wounds, at least partially, and I was able to shake some sense into my misunderstood, misled, and deliberately confused brain. Art is what you make of it. No amount of grown-up lying can change that. I am now on the road to recovery (hopefully!) and definitely excited to paint the town ORANGE, with my own art. Mine. All mine...
Thank you so much to out kitty pals, Rue and Nugget for their support and participation in this dramatic post. And for their hooman momma's for lending their awesome pics! :)