In preschool (how I remember something from when I was 4 I’ll never know but I remember it very clearly when I’m faced with a challenger), we were given a picture with a lady dressed in an elegant dress to color. I colored her dress purple, of course, my favorite color. Then I did something that no other kid did. I colored her arms purple, but just up to the elbows. My lady in my picture was wearing long gloves in my story, in my head.
Just then I was interrupted from my daydream of this elegant being by a fellow classmate.
He said “you can’t do that. You can’t color her arms purple”
I said “But they are gloves.” I stopped for a minute. The teacher came over and again reiterated to the boy that I could color my picture however I wanted to.
It starts as early as preschool/kindergarten. We are told that we can’t change and color outside of the lines of the prescribed lesson plan, the coloring book pictures, the job description, the life our family has decided for us.
A lot of times we waste time thinking we actually can’t do something. In high school, I wanted to be part of student council for some reason. I can’t even remember why now but I loved to be involved and be part of everything. So when my classmates basically told me “You can’t do that” because they didn’t vote me in, I decided to use my talents and go the route that allowed me to get where I wanted to go. There was this special position called “Student School Board Representative” I had to attend school board meetings every month and report back to the student council on what was going on as well as give updates to the school board on the goings on of the high schoolers. For this position, I needed to interview and be selected by upperclassmen and faculty. I got in!! It was more work, than the run of the mill student council member, but I wanted this position so badly, I didn’t care. When I had the position, the school board decided that they were going to start charging the students to park at school. Basically, I had to report back to the students that they would be charged like $50 per year just to drive to school. Most people would just accept their fate, but I wasn’t ready to back down just yet. That $50 doesn’t sound like a TON of money but for a high school student in a public school in the 90’s who may be paying for gas, insurance and whatever else for the car to drive it to school so that they can play sports or go to a job after school, $50 is a lot. They were telling us that we could no longer drive to school and park for free. Basically, “You can’t do the things you were doing last week” So I thought “Hmm how can I maintain our free parking” I decided to put together a survey of why each student drove to school and present my findings and my case to the school board. I even had my mom print out the pie charts in color at work. (Hey this was the 90’s, color printouts were a very big thing.) But it worked. They decided to stop the pay for parking initiative and to go back to the way it was. I was determined to make sure that I took my position seriously and even though we were 16 or 17 years olds, we weren’t going to be told that we couldn’t park at our school for free when there was plenty of space and plenty of reasons that students couldn’t pay the fee. When someone tells you “You can’t do that.” Think twice, heck think three times about why they are saying this and how you can prove that yes “I can do this.”
Go out and color your picture of your life however you want to.
You can’t do that
Oh but I can …. and I will