When I was in the eighth grade, I had a teacher who used to tell our class to question everything we were told – even when it was said by her.

 

“We are quick to believe whatever we see or hear, but we are never taught to question it”, she used to tell us again, and again, and again. At thirteen years old, I had a very subtle understanding of what she meant. But as I grew older and began to experience life in more ways than I had up to that time, my understanding of what she had been trying to say became clearer. And so I started questioning. Things, facts, ideas, professors, family, friends…

 

But I never learned to question myself. I never learned to question my beliefs, my thoughts, my desires, or whether or not my mind played tricks on me sometimes. And as I recently found out, it does. Yay mind. Why didn’t anyone tell me I’d need a freakin’ manual to figure out what’s going on inside this beautiful brain of mine? And can I ask for a refund? Mom? …

 

Reductionism. A practice that states that in order to understand the nature of something complex, one should reduce it to its constituents and then study those constituents individually. It’s a way to understand a bigger whole. So what if I stripped myself into my many, many parts, and I questioned each individually? (Metaphorically, of course. I don’t mean to say I’ll rip my ear off, you kidders). Would I understand myself then?

 

Well, if I were to do that, I would tell you that some parts of me truly believe that life is a painting and that we are the artists. And that frankly, some parts of me are tired of seeing my life be painted by hands that do not belong to me. I would tell you that they’re tired of letting things like anxiety, fears, and “what ifs” dictate what my painting becomes. I would tell you they’d do anything to paint me a life that I would be proud of.

 

But I could also tell you that other parts of me are afraid of living. They are holding me back. I could tell you that even though my painting is supposed to be a thousands shades of pink, for some reason they have turned it a hundred shades of blue. And finally, though I hate to admit it, I could tell you that some parts of me sometimes feel like they just want to give up.

 

And you know what? Sure, I could continue to let the ugly parts of me paint my canvas however they please. It would probably be easier. But I could also pick up the paint brush myself, focus carefully on every line and every stroke, and paint my own life canvas in the way that I always dreamed of. Pink, pink, pink.

 

Until next time,

Pao.

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Published by Paola Padro Ocasio