The paintbrush is a dancer, lost in a world where colours and emotions come alive, dancing across the canvas in a jubilant whirl. Repressed imagination bursts forth in a massive explosion of energy, fueling creativity to blossom like a field of flowers opening their petals as one to embrace the sun’s rejuvenating touch. It creates an intoxicating land of freedom.
Unfortunately, the paintbrush is constantly pitted against its greatest adversary: time. Time, which has a maddening reputation of moving at light speed when one is absorbed in such an enticing escapade. The inescapable clutches of reality clasp onto the paintbrush with its twisted and gnarled hands, wrenching it away from the artist’s grip and bringing her back into the arduous present.
The artist curses herself for falling victim to this sweet poison yet again. Life has become a rapid race of checking ceaseless tasks off a list; there’s no time to spare for these childish feelings of awe and excitement. And so she scrambles to clean up and return to the incumbent burdens society has thrust onto her. The cup and brush are hastily run under water, wiped down with a crumpled, dirty paper towel, and thrown onto their accustomed spot on the cluttered table. The artist finally thunders up the basement stairs and closes the door to her only escape from this onerous life, leaving it, once again, in the dark.
Drip, drip, drip, the abandoned paintbrush, remembering what it felt like to be factory-fresh and pristine, leans forlornly on the rim of the cup as water trickles from its paint-flecked bristles. Hard work changes things. Its angelic bristles are now a tangled mess of rigid nylon – a perfect square squashed into some unidentifiable shape to puzzle even the brightest geometer. Metal ferrule, once shiny enough for the artist to see her reflection, is dull and dented. Fortunately, the paintbrush is the ardent ballerina who dances her heart out even as her feet become bruised and bloodied.
The little paintbrush meekly peeks at its work, and pride courses through it. The magnificent painting is a true representation of the paintbrush’s mastery of subtlety and detail. For a brief second, the paint brush stands straight up in its cup; however, the malign snickers from the paint bottles knock the paintbrush back down to its dejected position.
Rows of cheerful, eye-appealing paint line the table. Despite being labeled water-based acrylic, the paints are filled with bile and acid. Looks are deceiving and titles mean nothing – they are bottles of jealousy and vengeance.
Eventually, the vindictive paint latches onto the paintbrush and slowly slinks down its handle. Layers of crusted paint transform its sleek surface into a bumpy, wooden rod, contaminating its pure, blue handle with whites, greys, and blacks. On a warpath driven by spite, the malicious paint covers the words and numbers on the handle: an act of absolute abomination. The paintbrush is without its identity – simply another paintbrush in a cup full of paintbrushes. A mere tool.
The paintbrush blocks out the biting words of the paint bottles, allowing the excitement of the day to return to its thoughts. Nothing can overpower the thrill of the paintbrush’s dance. Resigned but fiercely adamant, the paintbrush returns to drying its bristles and waits for the artist to return. Drip, drip, drip….
One truth I have come to accept in life is that “you can’t change what you are, only what you do.” While I would love to think myself as overflowing with confidence, I certainly have a deficiency of it. Therefore, I chose to compare myself to a paintbrush.
If one inanimate object had to be described as diffident, I feel like it would have to be a paintbrush. There are thousands of stunning paintings around the world. We marvel at the paintings and nearly worship their creators – we even take the time to examine the paint used. But what about the paintbrush? Yes, you need an artist, some paint, and a canvas, but you also need a paintbrush. Leonardo da Vinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa with his fingers.
A paintbrush knows its worth and talent, yet it is too diffident to step out and show it off to the world and receive the recognition it deserves. In my metaphor, the paintbrush was proud when it studied its work, but was put down easily when criticized from the paint bottles. The paint bottles saw the passionate paintbrush and laughed at it. They didn’t understand how much the paintbrush’s work means to it. They are jealous that the paintbrush could find something that makes it so happy. So, they just dismiss the paintbrush as just another paintbrush (nerd in my case) and never give the paintbrush any recognition for its amazing work.
Because of this, the paintbrush and I are one and the same. I know inside that I can do something, but I am too shy to do it because I fear that I am not good enough or that I am a fraud. I really do fear “stumbling in the critical eyes of the other paint supplies.”
Another trait I share with the paintbrush is being passionate. I am the type of person who always puts her heart into things to try to make them the best that they can be. While sometimes I can get worn, tired, and swollen-lipped from playing too much clarinet (like how the paintbrush got rigid bristles and a dull and dented ferrule), I still try to make time for the things that I love doing. I use my basement to paint, exercise, and do puzzles as my weekly escape from “this onerous life.” At times, I do feel like “life has become a rapid race of checking ceaseless tasks off a list.”
Overall, being diffident isn’t so bad. While I do sometimes feel like I go unnoticed by a lot of people, it doesn’t bug me too much. I don’t have to be better than other people to feel accomplished. As long as I am constantly improving, I am content being a paintbrush.