Children in Closets

Jocelyn - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity

On my third birthday, I received a coloring book from my sister. Child as I was, I found myself spending endless hours hiding in the closet, scribbling tediously over increasingly more intricate designs with color patterns that both made sense and looked pretty. I drew my inspiration from my parents’ old walk-in closet – the one I sat in while I colored – housing my mother’s brightly colored dresses and silk scarves, and my father’s soft cashmere sweaters and numerous ornate ties. The one detail of this experience that never fazed me was that the coloring book never seemed to run out. With my reasoning still undeveloped, I didn’t quite realize that my mother was always slipping me a new one when the remaining pages dwindled, but nevertheless, I still think there was just something about that closet. I learned two things from all of this: first, and foremost, I am a perfectionist and second, magic at any age is only what you make it out to be.

Although I moved from that apartment with the magical closet well over ten years ago and finally admitted that it wasn’t the source of my many coloring books, I find myself believing in magic more and more. But rather than wands and wizardry, I see magic as something quite different. It is dissatisfaction with reality as it stands, then taking that resolution of discontent to change the world. A park bench, a cardboard box, a mirror, a closet, the simplest of things can be transformed by a child armed with magic. The bench becomes a pirate ship, the box becomes a cave, the mirror becomes an entrance to another world, and the closet becomes a treasured hideaway that makes its occupants invincible. The way I see it, magic is an inherent power within us all.

It is a popular belief that the world is only filled with hatred and greed, but the view from where I sit seems to showcase the fact that magic is everywhere. Oftentimes, it’s not particularly fanciful or majestic, but it’s always there amongst the everyday miracles and silent heroes. It peeks out from behind the microphone center stage and lingers near the dark forest on a starless night just to lend a little pixie dust to the believer in need. It is power. It is confidence. It is finesse.

It is wonderful.

Equipped with this knowledge, the possibilities are limitless. In my

case, rather than finishing the coloring book as fast as possible, I worked diligently, drawing upon the magical power of my closet, my crayons, and my imagination; they all made me strive for the perfection I wanted to achieve. I was taking pride in the small successes with each finished page that made its way on the refrigerator door. Every day I believed in the closet, I believed in myself.

Thus is the magic of a child’s first coloring book.