I remember the first time I used Paint.
I was in grade three. My father just got a computer for his business to make entries, print out receipts and hence, maintain official (digital) records. And on one of my visits there after school, he told me I can (also) make a drawing on it.
Imagine me as all doe- and wide-eyed.
It was simple. He clicked a few times and I had in front of me a white canvas to ‘paint’ on. He ‘picked’ the color green as an example and swept the cursor across to make a few random strokes; then told me how I could erase and that I should carry on.
Timidly, yet excitedly, I got hold of the mouse and started ‘painting’.
It wasn’t easy to control the strokes. Shaky green lines. Too long, too short. Pixelated. But a lot of fun.
Some time passed before I got tired of the color choice. Hmmm, what to do now? Everything can’t be green.
I could see the ‘palette’ of colors on the screen in front of me. But what am I supposed to do? What if I mess something up?
My dad had gone out of the (inner) office to the (outer) showroom area. So it was a simple matter of getting up, peeking my head from the door, calling him in and asking him. Or asking someone to get him. Or asking anyone else if they knew how to.
Except I couldn’t. Couldn’t even get up from the chair.
Simple fear: my mouth went dry, my stomach turned to jelly and my lead legs weighed me down.
I can’t go looking for him…he must be busy. I think I’ll just wait for him here.
And that’s exactly what I did: I waited. And continued to paint green to pass those long minutes.
However, when he came back and explained that I had been on the right track (the color palette!), it was time to go home and say adios to the new-fangled machine. Till next visit, at least.
That simple disappointment with self.
So many years have passed since then. My palette is full and yet I continue to paint with only one color. It’s not always green but sometimes, the green dominates despite best efforts.
I am not Pocahontas. I can’t paint with all the colors of the wind.
I am not John Smith. I can’t dance around with the woman I find attractive, hoping to learn this painting business.
Sounds like a whole lot of posh to me, in any case; my ability to draw is deplorable as it is.
All I know is that I have come far from being that girl while still being her. I have learned a lot over the years, including, hit and trial and error and hitting again; that taking risks is okay. A system crash means you reboot. Or consult someone at that point.
That thinking before doing anything might not be that bad an idea. That waiting is okay too: the other half of something-needs-to-happen-right-now.
And that just one color might actually be for the good, even if it is green. Having a full palette should not mean you have to use it. There is a time and place for everything. What matters is that you to know. Only then choosing another color would make sense. And make for less fear and disappointment.