She found me,as I was trying to emerge from the maze of wonder that Dorothy and the Emerald city threw me in. A world full of all things strange and magical; so similar yet so different from the world of Enid Blyton where I spent most of my childhood. Still, both worlds- as wonderful as they were-, were distant from mine in numerous shades. They made me wish I could be part of them yet showed me glaringly that I wouldn’t belong.
“Come child”,she whispered softly, from her book that shimmered in colours of green and orange. “There is wonder here- in your motherland”,she said. Finally I went; entranced by her pull and curious to where she might lead me. I picked her book and opened it to a new world. Nestled inside its pages where wondrous edifices familiar yet strange to me. From the countless trees that grew around me- nameless, as I sulked and swept their fallen leaves to the reddish brown soil that dirtied my shoes to the harsh harmattan that left my skin dry and crackly like the bark of a tree to the voices and shades of the people around me as they complained loudly and quietly about their lives.
She took the familiar, painted them bright and eye catching and it was glorious- as if I discovered them for the first time. She was my first love. She led me to discover others like her,who had hues of skin familiar to me,who specialised in painting stories familiar to me in brilliant colours.
Then,she led me to my second love. One younger than her but firmer in her assertiveness. As if to tell me “Child,go to her, she will teach you things that I can’t”. So off I went, to the gathering of my second love where I sat and listened. There, I learnt the power of my femininity, molded my softness and turned it into my armour. I learnt to use silence and speech to effect change and I learnt more about the treasure and force I was as a woman.
Alas, there was something missing,they still hadn’t ticked all the boxes. They lifted me up and filled me with dreams but I was still aware of an obvious difference so I sought out my third love.
He swooped in at my moment of doubt and captivated me. “Hey, I’m also like them”, he said- “but,guess what?, I share something with you that I don’t share with them”. He took my hand and led me on a journey through his art and from there I found many others like them, some who had crossed my path before but I was blind to because of my lack of enlightenment. Some who had something in common with me and some who didn’t but still painted. I saw that we all had something in common: a burning, unbridled passion for painting the familiar in eye-catching colours and that passion could never be contained. It didn’t matter how long it took or how hard it was.
Every obstacle,every pain,every small victory, I felt- in the passion of their art. “Come, you can do it too”,they beckoned, as more of them filtered into my world and fed me their different yet similar beautiful works of art through my eyes. I garnered my tattered conviction to be whatever I wanted to be and this time,instead of a blurry dream chanted in a nursery rhyme,I found for myself a lucid path lined with echoes of the dreams and fears of those before me.