This I Believe

Kaley - Erie, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in coloring outside the lines. I believe in boys having cooties. I believe in mismatched clothes and shoes on the wrong feet. I believe in Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. I believe in Tonka trucks, army guys, and Spiderman. I believe in preserving the innocence of childhood.

One of my favorite activities when I was little was to color. It occupied me for hours on end. The part I enjoyed most was the freedom. I could make the grass blue and the sky green, and no one could tell me I was wrong. People could be purple, orange, or red, and it didn’t matter. I could choose between markers, crayons, even colored pencils.

Life is like a coloring book. Although there are outlines on the pages of pictures, you color them how you want, and add as much detail as you desire. Parents set guidelines, like the pictures, but you color your life how you want. Children’s pictures are always the most colorful. They feel no restrictions except for the number of colors in their box of crayons. They have no worries, except what color to make the flowers in the grass. They not only color the pictures, but they add details and scenes that tell a story.

As I got older, coloring was still something I enjoyed; however, I had less time. My pictures started to become increasingly blander. I continued to use a selection of colors, but they were always inside the lines. The sky was blue and the grass green. People were peach and apricot. They wore plain shirts and pants. Animals no longer roamed a forest, and people weren’t at the park or their homes. Each picture was just that, a picture, on a blank page.

Now, at the age of 18, I rarely color. “I don’t have time” is my excuse, but I don’t try to make time either. If I were to sit down and color, would I be able to produce the same work of art I once had, or would it look more like a color-by-number?

As I look at my younger sister, and cousins, color now, I remember pouring my heart into the pictures that plastered the refrigerator and walls of our home. I can see my mom’s big smile as I handed her countless papers with rigid edges from being quickly torn out of the book. She’d embrace me as I proudly showed off ones that read “To: MOM, or DAD, Love: KALEY” in big scribbles across the top. At that moment, with my parents beaming down at my accomplishments, I had no worries in the world.

Looking inside myself, I’d say I color inside the lines. Boys are something you can’t seem to live with or without. My clothes match everyday. Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty only exist in fairy tales. Tonka trucks and army guys are just toys, and Spiderman is no more than a movie character. However, despite my changes, I’d give anything to have my only concern be what color I wanted the sky to be today.