Colour Me Bold
Vanessa Ogechinyerenwa Emeadi
December 6, 2021
With a Stroke of Her Brush,
she ruined the painting. She just couldn’t do it, her fears had taken over. Her hands trembled, and in disgust she threw the brush away. Was it so hard to move on? Good today, a mess the next day? Was it so hard to shake free the pain, to let go of criticisms?
Her mind took her back to when she was just a little girl, the harsh words of her mother as she screamed the words that would shadow her, “you’re no good, what is this?” She had said of her painting. “Who will look at this and think ‘beautiful, appealing’? Just who? What a waste!”
She was seven and her mother had been brutal.
Those words followed her, taunted her, they became so familiar like the warmth of an old sweater.
As she grew older, she found healing in self-help books, but it was a struggle. She never totally healed. She knew all the right things to do; affirming positive words in front of the mirror, self-love, discovering yourself, even seeking solace in God. It didn’t take; she’d be good for awhile, then one day, she’d wake up again deep in the blues.
Were Words This Powerful?
She felt defeated, and now this painting in front of her was a reminder that maybe this blubbering mess is who she is, maybe she was an imposter, claiming what she wasn’t.
Like in a trance, she dipped her hands in paint and wrote the words, I M P O S T E R. Testing to see how she felt, she went for a different colour and wrote N O G O O D. Tears dropped from her eyes, her heart was beating fast. Oh, how she’d tormented herself with those words. It felt like there was something burning within her, willing to be let out.
She picked up a new brush and began the process of mixing, she knew what she had to do.
Blue, they say, is the colour of serenity, but for every shade, its meaning varies. It could be peaceful, it could be elegant, and it could be used to express exhilaration. It could also be used to show melancholy, depression, and negativity. Same colour, different shades. It didn’t change it from being the colour blue.
The same with green, pink and all the colours of the earth. The same with her; different qualities, same person.
The qualities that shaped her didn’t have to be good all around. She could be great at her job and still show fear, that didn’t make her any less competent, it only meant she was human enough to still worry even when she had nothing to worry about.
As she discovered this about colours and herself, it became easier to paint, to release herself from the anchors that had weighed her down.
Finally, she stepped back and took in the work she’d created. Words she’d tormented herself with, against the backdrop of a wobbly smile.
about the author
Vanessa Ogechinyerenwa Emeadi
Vanessa Emeadi is a writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. With numerous short stories under her belt, and splashes of poetry to spice it up, she began her own blog called Brazen
Katherine is an artist, vegan activist, and the founder and curator of Creating Freely Magazine. She’s passionate about living on her own terms and maximizing her potential.
Elizabeth Oni is a freelance on-air radio professional, content writer, singer, and video presenter with her own online radio station: Flame Radio.