A star. That was the first thing I drew; I was maybe four or five years old. My mother taught me. I can still feel the pride I had in that first star that I drew. I could see the anatomy of it. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t symmetrical, but I drew it, and she taught me.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We sat on the beige carpet floor in the corner of the living room. The television was on and my dad and grandmother sat on the couch reading books. A dozen blank sheets of printer paper were scattered on the floor with ugly, but colorful childish doodles scribbled all over the surfaces.
My mother kept drawing stars randomly, and I asked her to teach me to draw one. It took a couple of tries. Frustration after frustration. I was about to give up, but then it happened. I was able to draw it: a star! It was right before me. I illustrated it. Me. I did that.
After that star was illustrated, it opened up a whole new world for me, a whole new medium for expression and beauty.
I kept drawing them: star after star, and they became prettier every time I drew them. I remember the sweet, artificial smell of the crayons as I rubbed them against the paper. I remember the waxy texture they left on the paper and how each crayon left a shine that felt funny as I swiped my fingers across the sheet to feel closer to what I had drawn. It was exhilarating; each stroke, each line, each color, each star.
“Never give up this passion.” My mother told me. “Always keep in touch with it.”
Throughout the years I’ve tried to keep in touch with the artist in me. My parents put me in painting classes, I always took art in school, I purchased canvas after canvas to stay motivated and to paint, but it has all dissipated now. I am no longer exhilarated by color, by texture, or even by stars. That is the truth to life, we grow up and lose touch with the things that make us happy. That is tragedy.
Once a year I purchase a new canvas and put it in my room Maybe I will paint something, anything, like a dot, or a line, or a swipe of random color I keep staring at that canvas, no matter how painful it is, no matter how out of place it makes me feel.
Today my mother walked by my canvas to see the nude color, almost resembling skin.
“So, what’s your plan for this one?” she says, pointing to the nude canvas.
“I just want to throw some color on it and see what happens.”
Mother doesn’t say anything. Instead she covers her mouth with her palm while bobbing her head, trying to hold back happy tears. It’s been so long since she’s seen my artist self creating.
We both have kept that star in our hearts all these years, I just needed to dig deep to find it again.
At one point I thought I had lost that star, that memory for good, but through time it found its way back into my heart.
That star had not fallen. In fact, it had helped me find my way back to myself. Now I have it back, the passion, the drive and especially the exhilaration; all from a little star I once drew.
Elizabeth Angi Temourian is an English major at PCC.