Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writing On Your Own Canvas

That word control. We hear that word a lot. “He is controlling, I have no control, you’re trying to control me.” Control is a word packed with meaning, often subjective. As children, we have little control as our lives are structured based on societal norms and parental rules.  As we mature, our parents loosen the reigns and we are given more freedom to make our own choices and learn from them.  Of course, that is in an optimal world and a nurturing environment.

I wonder what happens if a child grows up in a hyper-controlled environment, and freedom of choice is not afforded to him.  How does that affect him as he matures? We see this in Pages in the Wind, as Emily, on the threshold of adulthood, ponders her future:

I relaxed into the pillows on my bed and stared at the ceiling, wondering how my life would unfold.  This is my new start.  My eyes spanned the walls and noted that they were freshly painted.  It’s a blank canvas, waiting for life, like me.  That is how I feel, like a new canvas waiting to be painted.  I can leave the last seventeen years behind and start over.  What will life draw on my canvas?

It doesn’t occur to Emily that she can draw on her own canvas.  She is so conditioned to life happening to her, instead of creating her own life.  In a sense, the wall represents her inertia.  Think of a wall, an inanimate structure in which people brush against it leaving a mark, a picture is hung leaving a hole.  In time, the wall shows wear all created by life, by others.  That is how Emily sees herself, at least for now.  Emily is creative and she is passionate, traits that do not flourish in an atmosphere of oppression.  Will she break through the wall and write on her own canvas?
Can you relate to this feeling?


11 comments:

  1. I completely relate to this post - it is written with such insight. This was me during my childhood and I've continued to pick controlling people to be in my life. I hope that this changes for Emily. This story is very inspirational, Ive been a loyal follower. You always give me something to think about!

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  2. I love your writing, and it hits home for sure. I relate to your character, I should have done a better job writing on my canvas and made mistakes along the way. Life teaches us, thats for sure. Your post gives me much to think about and how I can turn it around and do my own canvas. Thank you for your thoughtful writing.

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  3. You are exceptional in the way you draw out your characters. I have been following your blog and I especially love the relationship between Emily and Ried. I'm rooting for them, she has suchc a tenderness toward him. Thank you for the post.

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  4. Aside from the unexpected, it gives me something to think about, my own canvas. I think Ive allowed others to write on it, and not done what I should to reclaim my own life. thank you for the post and giving me something to look inside for.

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  5. Boy, do I connect with this. After years of abuse, I finally have found balance. The fact that Emily is passionate and creative, I believe, will help her either break through her wall or find away over/around it. All it takes is one other person to plant the seed that there is something worthy within you to help this happen. I was blessed with several of those somebodies.

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  6. You've hit a home run here. I relate with this in my own life. I think that she will eventually write on her own canvas, but I fear what she will write. All she knows is abuse and it is hard to push on past that. Her creativity will help and i can't wait to see how she develops. Great story.

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  7. I understnad Emily and her feelings as I have done this my whole life. I didn't know until I read your post that I was doing it. I guess that knowledge is power so I can work to change it. Thank you for showing this to me through your writing.

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  8. at times stuff happens but your so right, and I never thought of it that way. I like your post and the one before about turning away really got to me. Thank you for your great posts, they make me think.

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  9. When she realizes she has freedom, it will be hard for Emily to gain confidence and to make decisions for her canvas if she hasn't had freedom before. Should she use paint, pencil, or pastels? Should she use this color or that? Should she start in the middle of the canvas or in the top left corner? Maybe the freedom will frighten her, leaving her paralyzed, or maybe for a long time she will continue to base her decisions on what others would want because that's what's familiar.

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  10. I like the other comments,especially the last one it is so true. I think that barring some big event in her life, she is going to follow how others see her instead of drawing on her own canvas. This is true of so many women, and why it tends to be women is an indication that we still live in a man's society. I love your writing and still have high hopes that Emily will break out of her parents hold on her!

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  11. Hi, Sally! I commented at a much earlier stage and now I've come back to see how it's going. It's interesting and I like your writing style.

    Thoughts: Emily creates this beautiful, sweet world as a refuge. It is safe because no-one else can enter. What would happen if she perceived that someone else was entering, a boy, a girl? Would she become frightened that her refuge world was threatened and turn on the friend/visitor?

    If it turns into something she can share and gain financial security from, a children's story perhaps, will she feel it's lost its magic and power for her?

    She deals with aggression by retreating. As a child attacked by her father, she may have no alternative, but this behaviour can become entrenched. However, she can't be all sweet - as you suggest in your gloss. There must be angry, destructive feelings in there somewhere. Are they suppressed? If so, in what circumstances might they come out?

    Your illustration of the untroubled bully left me with two contradictory thoughts - (1): a successful psychopath. Someone did a study which suggested psychopathic traits are common among business leaders. (2): maybe he's hiding something about his childhood so deep he can't see it.After all, a lack of trauma and a sufficiency of goods does not equal love.

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I would love your input on this work-in-progress. I thank you for your opinion.