When I was young my identity was art.
I loved to draw and I drew with my heart.
But now I don’t have time to draw anymore,
Now I only have time for the constant demand of more.
Now I scroll and now I like
And now I hate and now I fight.
My quiet raging internal battle out of sight.
I no longer see the creative colours in my eyes.
I only see my imperfections, how they amplify.
Striving for assurance from their critical eye
This task performed with many sacrificial goodbyes.
Silence like a cancer grows
because the more I’m alone the more I oppose.
But being in company with those who oppress
I would take over sitting alone and depressed.
Feeling you belong is a better alternative
than being lonely in your thoughts and being an adversative.
Goodbye long ago
to those I shouldn’t have let go.
Goodbye my brilliant blues,
my free-willed hues.
Goodbye my passionate pinks,
my impressionable inks.
But now I start to wonder and think,
is my desire to fit in worth the sacrifice and stink?
Maybe now is a good time to stop and rethink?
Where exactly is my colouring book?
Just for a second, I’ll take a break and look.
As predicted I found it in the nook
and it took me back without a second look.
My colouring book, forever with open arms.
My colouring book, who lets me escape from harm.
I think I know enough of hate to say instead of living this way
I’d much rather escape.
Imagine a future better –
Where loving yourself is as easy a task,
As seeing the beauty in those around you.
Seeing that same light,
But this time within you.
So, for just a short while, I suppose,
I’ll take a short break and maybe draw a rose.
I’ll pick up my dusty pencils and scavenge for secluded pens.
Returning my childlike innocence where love and fun never ends.
“The Art of My Heart” by Alexa Darwin is a poem exploring the common theme in our society today of extreme self criticism and a constant desire for perfection. She addresses the question of inclusivity versus isolation and reveals the sad reality of intense desire for acceptance and belonging even if we don’t share the same beliefs and values as those viewed as ‘perfect.’ Continuous support will still be given to them and the seek for their approval for the fear of isolation and imperfection ourselves. Often when we are faced with loneliness, rejection and sometimes something as simple as a disagreement, we will immediately turn to ourselves, questioning what is wrong with us and how our imperfections prevented our acceptance. Ms. Darwin references the video Real Beauty Sketches to illustrate how easy it is to see the beauty in those around us compared to the scrutiny and pressure we hold to ourselves. The metaphor silence like a cancer grows represents how we over analyze ourselves, based and directed by the values of society and constant demand for its version of perfection. It represents how the buzzing and shouting of our own thoughts and criticism can be loudest in the silence and reveals how we are our biggest critics. Ms. Darwin’s multiple references to her colouring book is a metaphor to represent the bliss, ignorance and innocence of childhood and how the desire for many to return to a simpler, less critical and happy life is overwhelming. Children are shaped into young adults and adults by the experiences, influences and learned behaviour they are exposed to and observe growing up, therefore are not only incredibly impressionable but accepting, open hearted and open minded. Children don’t care about the values of society until they are exposed to the toxic and unrealistic expectations. Something as a collective whole we must work on and realize that our standards are just that.