This I Believe

Stephanie - Reminderville, Ohio
Entered on March 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“No Stephanie! Don’t do it that way! You’re supposed to color INSIDE the lines!” I was a toddler when I first heard those words and they confused me. Why? Was some big bad guy going to snatch my broken crayon away and eat it? What was so special about making sure no crayon got outside of the black lines that made the picture of a puppy?

I believe in coloring OUTSIDE the lines.

I was raised in a household that was not very liberal. By not very liberal I mean my dad is an ex-army man and my mom was raised by a Vietnam and World War Two Veteran. In other words, liberal views were nonexistent. Naturally, one would assume I became a rebel and decided that I would be “Emo” just to fight the man. Well as the saying goes; when you assume you make an ass out of you and me!

I didn’t question my parent’s authority because, hey, lets face it, they controlled the money flow. End of story. I did, however, test other authority as far as I could go by trying different, colors, if you will. I acted out a lot and made detention seem like no big deal. I tried my hand at being “oh-my-gosh does my nail polish match my shoes?” girly, which lasted all of three days. I even did the nerd thing for a while. I think that was the only year I got straight A’s.

All that time I thought that I was taking the proverbial crayon and straight up SCRIBBLING outside life’s set lines. Then I realized I wasn’t going outside the lines. I was still inside the lines, just in a different picture.

After many attempts, I found out how I could color in my own way. I dug down deep to the bottom of the art box and found the mashed up, broken bits of different crayons and combined them. I smooshed together the nerd, with the valley girl, with the “I-hate-the-world” Emo kid, and many other assorted pieces. I ended up with the oddest shaped crayon I’d ever seen (my personality) and took a good, long, hard look at the coloring book (life itself). Then, I grabbed firm hold of my crayon, and just went WILD.

I am going to be nineteen years old in May. I wear a bar earring in my left ear with Aeropastle clothing and I make sure I am home often to eat dinner with my family. I listen to country and am a proud watcher of SpongeBob SquarePants. I talk to strangers in the checkout line at Wal Mart and I sometimes wear shorts in the winter. I am not what you could call a normal person and I am a very happy camper about it.

While I am still scribbling away at the same picture, my crayon has changed tremendously. I have added some new colors, lost a few old ones. I’ve let myself slip once or twice and discovered I was doing things the “right way”. I don’t push other people to be like me. It’s not my place. I do, however, pass on my theory to those who will listen. Some think I am brilliant…most think I’m nuts.

I look back on what I used to do to try and be true to myself. I laugh, cry, bury my head in shame. I will even try out some of the old stuff. I still don’t have it down perfect just yet, but I have the rest of my life to do it. All I have to do is keep scribbling away…outside the lines.