Always Painting on My Canvas

Maggie - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on January 21, 2011
Age Group: Under 18

I have a severe case of butterfingers. Whether I’m holding a scalding hot cup of coffee or a bowl of freezing ice cream, I always find a way to spill it all over myself. Unfortunately for me, there’s no cure for this small problem.

Throughout my life, my clothes have always become a canvas filled with a painting of colorful splotches that would mirror whatever meal I had that day. I always hear similar reactions in response to my horridly stained clothing.

“Maggie, how did you possibly get pizza sauce on the back of your shirt?”

“Maggie, why does your brand new shirt have a stain on it?”

I would stutter and stammer trying to create an elaborate fable that would explain what happened, but in reality, it is always a mystery to me.

This same old story has repeated itself many times. My age has made no difference; five, ten or fifteen years old- it didn’t matter-I have been cursed with slippery fingers and bad coordination my whole life.

When I was in fifth grade, I was in the cafeteria eating lunch with my friends. It seemed to be a typical lunch day, and we were cheerfully talking amongst ourselves. Then, with just small, unnoticeable movement of my hand, my bottle of Sunny D flew into the air and attacked everything and everyone in its path. High pitched screams echoed throughout the room as the orange liquid destructively flowed down the table, sprouting streams in all different directions. I quickly jumped up and retrieved a heap of napkins, but it was too late- the damage had been done. All my friends started laughing at me and mocking my mistake. Unfortunately, my close friends knew my mom’s cursed maiden name and chanted it in my direction.

“Spilman! Look what you’ve done now!”

Being only ten years old, I was overcome with shame at the mess I had caused. But then I remembered a valuable saying I had once heard: always remember to laugh at yourself, so that way you can always beat others to it. Without giving it a second thought, I joined in on the boisterous laughter and even referred to myself as Spilman. My complete embarrassment began to melt away, and I instantly felt better. From that day on, I learned to accept my embarrassing imperfection, and now I simply laugh it off whenever I have a stain covered shirt or a lap full of food.

I believe in spilling. I have learned to relish in my stained clothing and the piles of crumbs I accumulate as I eat. My uncontrollable habit of spilling has taught me an important lesson: everybody has imperfections, and everyone does embarrassing things. You should embrace the small quirks you possess because that is what makes you unique. I’m now happy to say that there is no cure for my butterfingers because it is a small but necessary imperfection that has made me who I am today.