Old Paint

One day, I decided to clean my desk a few minutes before the end of my shift. I sunk to the floor, flashed a light, and before me was a diorama of dust and hair. It looked like the stress I had in the moment had casually manifested physically. Truth be told, I was seconds from hurling into another universe, but I had to get to work.

From the pile of empty boxes and random trinkets, I fished out hobbies I stopped investing in at uncertain points in my life. My unfinished sketchpads had drawings halfway done, lost ideas frozen in ill-forgotten moments. Unopened books I bought or borrowed camouflaged themselves to look tattered and overused. Embroidery hoops, empty notebooks, and other menial things sung of their neglect, pointing their fingers at the culprit.

At first I couldn’t care less. I just wanted a clean desk. But after yanking, stacking, and sorting, a mystery package caught my eye. It was a delivery package addressed to me in the biggest marker letters. “Huh, that’s odd,” I thought, eyebrows furled. I quickly cut the plastic, and the blind item falls out.

I froze. Somehow, somewhere, something deep inside me snapped.

I read somewhere that we wake up more than once in our lives. At first, it felt like bullshit. But that’s the thing, isn’t it ➖ all the valuable lessons always start with us feeling like bullshit.

What sat on my lap and stared back at me was a bag of merchandise from the first local Pride Parade I attended. Its very presence interrogated who I thought I was. It was the most obvious inanimate cry for help, and I somehow stayed oblivious. To others, it maybe a simple gap in memory. To me, it was a very personal, self-made verdict.

It was that whether I’ve picked up a passion, a hobby, or something in between, it was something that made me happy. It didn’t matter from who or where my interests came about, because I did all of it for myself. From learning linguistics and history to crafting pieces with thread and paint, it all made me feel safe, satisfied, and so incredibly happy.

But somehow, somewhere, my excitement and thrill for these… I lost them to time.

We aged together, but somehow it was less obvious to may that they may have started decaying completely. My attention had to be transferred to more urgent matters, and I could not accommodate what made me happy.

That sad realization alone woke me up.

It wasn’t just a call, I jolted back from my semi-nebulous state of mind. It’s as if who I was has returned, not to usurp my progress, but to be a part of it. A blaringly obvious and loud part of it.

It felt like I was old paint getting a fresh coat. My notions and beliefs were refreshed, leaving behind space for purpose and life.

In the end, I did finish cleaning my desk. Physically and figuratively.

It makes me happy.