Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked to draw. She scribbled with crayons, chalk, finger paints, and her mother’s lipstick.
“How cute!” said her grandma.
“Is that of me?” boasted her uncle.
“Draw me next!” begged her sister.
“Let me scan it to show everyone on Facebook!” said her dad.
“Not my brand-new Sephora!” moaned her mom, but she displayed the newest picture with pride.
As the little girl grew older, crayons turned into pastels and finger paints switched to watercolors and oils. She added charcoal, tempera, and pencils to her repertoire.
“Your perspective’s off,” frowned her teacher.
“Does not meet our guidelines,” dismissed her dream art institute.
“Why do you draw everyone so funny?” complained her niece.
“Lacks maturity and composition,” panned the art show critic.
The adult girl looked at her growing stack of unpaid utility bills and she wondered whether she should give it up. Perhaps she should apply at the local fast-food restaurant to earn minimum wage. Maybe she needed to learn graphic design and become more marketable as a digital artist. Maybe she should…
“This doesn’t look like your work,” said her first art teacher.
“You’ve lost your voice,” said her best friend from art school.
“This does not deserve to have your name on it,” chided her aunt.
The adult girl burned her latest creations, stomping around her home while screaming at the top of her lungs. She hated her work, she wished she never had tried to draw, and everyone could take their stupid criticism and die with it.
Then, when the tears dried on her cheeks, she came across an envelope her mom had put in the mail.
“For you,” the note read.
Inside, there lay a yellow, tattered piece of paper covered with black marks of a fridge magnet.
“It was always my favorite,” the note continued.
A strange neckless person-like creature with wings, flying across either an ocean or a pit of lava. She couldn’t remember which. All drawn in Cin Cin, Sephora tropical coral.
The girl took out a fresh sheet of paper, clipped it to her easel. She could almost feel the excitement of drawing for its own sake, losing herself in the sheer joy of discovering what she could create. She picked up her nearest tube of lipstick, and she drew.