disable the label

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Tuesday, Hope’s teacher mentioned how wonderfully Hope colors in the lines & mentioned her phenomenal fine motor skills.

I think I spent my whole entire life trying to color inside the lines. Just don’t think it was ever for me.

I choose to color outside the lines & encourage my kids to do the same.

I mix art mediums.

I make messes.

I mix clay by letting the colors collide.

I let the black play doh touch the white play doh to create gray, my own shade of gray.

I leave caps off the toothpaste.

I forget to get gas until I’m 5 miles to empty.

I leave the milk out.

I read 5 books at once.

I have unfinished to do lists.

I have a bin full of clean laundry & it’s been in the same spot for a week.

I’m late for appointments & play dates & most school days.

I forget the well checks until it’s too late.

I have permanently lost James’ immunization record.

I forget diapers & wipes when I need them the most.

My phone dies because I forget to charge it right before important things like pee wee soccer practice photo sessions.

My car stinks.

I prefer asymmetry
& abstract
& beautiful messes.

Once, in elementary, I overheard the teachers whispering that I was way behind in reading & that I was in the lowest reading group & right then & there I felt less than, far behind the others, & not good enough. We were in the library. I was in 1st grade. I felt small.

One morning, I was sitting on my mom’s lap in the kitchen, the sun was peeking through the curtains & she told me I had to repeat 1st grade all over again. I felt small.

In 1st grade, the 2nd time, I read slowly & wrote letters & numbers backwards. Shortly after, I was labeled dyslexic & ADHD. I struggled to focus & used to get caught playing in my own world, completely unaware of what the teacher had said.

I wonder what would have happened had I not been labeled @ all & just been given a little more attention. Labels can be dangerous. I lived up to those labels. I felt small, like I’d missed the boat.

Always assigned tutors & prep classes & extra time & average grades were my best & that was ok. I used these as crutches & never truly put my best foot forward because, after all, I wasn’t expected to & didn’t rise to the occasion.

I wonder what would have happened had I just been left alone to flourish & create & design.

Once, in my college design class, we all hung up our art masterpieces on the wall & my teacher whispered that I wasn’t living up to her expectations of me, as my art painfully stood out as significantly different from the others. I was devastated. I dropped my art minor & cried & swore I’d never take another art course again. & then, a handful of years later, I realized that she was wrong & finished my art minor, afterall.

In a college ceramics course, I spent time and time and time again trying to throw a pot on the potter’s wheel & never ever did it come out right- always lopsided. I thought it was all wrong because it didn’t look anything like the others in the class- they seem to have mastered the skill of throwing symmetrical masterpieces. I felt small.

After I moved into my sister’s apartment, I threw every clay pot creation into the dumpster- swearing it off as no good. There must have been 20 pieces or more. My sister found out I’d done so & while I was at work, down the block, she climbed into the dumpster & retrieved my work & insisted on displaying it all over our apartment. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Be careful with labels. Meet people where they are and let them decide who they want to me and accept them as unique and beautiful beings.

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