I am an artist.
Every day I am handed a blank canvas.

I have a vast selection of tools, mediums, shapes – and I get to decide.  I get to decide what to put on my canvas – what colours to use; if I want it full or sparse; if I want it realistic or abstract. Everything is my choice. 

I find my inspiration by what is around me. What situations I find myself in. What adversity has been handed to me. What people say to me. How people act towards to me . What my past has been. What things I am a part of that I can not control. What things I can not change. These are the circumstances in my life. These are the actual facts and data points that are mine. There is no right or wrong. It just is.

I used to think that those things were what was on my canvas: The sad and unjust things were blue. The bumpy surfaces were my trials. The bright yellow was the kind thing someone said to me, the red was the anger they caused me. I occasionally would paint in my own inspiration, but I thought everyday my canvas arrived with something on it – that someone or something – another person, an event, an injustice, my past – had already made its mark.

But now I realize, every day, I get to start fresh. I get to create my design, my pattern, choose my source of inspiration. I get a new canvas handed to me every day to create my life on. I choose all my thoughts and they are the design, the colour, the texture, the pattern. 

My canvas is different than yours. I recognize that there are some injustices in the world where I have been handed a larger canvas, or may have been given more tools to use to create my canvas. Other people may have to work harder at accessing different mediums and tools and that is not right and is something that I think we need to try to understand, validate, explore and correct. I am trying to learn about the canvas’ that others are handed. I am learning how I can use my canvas for the better, to show empathy and compassion and to be a catalyst for change.

And on some days, the canvas handed me may not seem like it is one that I should have received. That it is too small, too big, warped, bent… or I may look at someone else’s canvas and want theirs. I can choose to spend my time longing for another canvas, comparing my canvas to someone else’s or I can use what I have been given in the best way I can. 

I am an artist. 

You are too. 

What are you going to create on your daily canvas?