Maybe I Don’t Want To Color Inside The Lines

I like painting, but I’m in love with charcoal. Charcoal is bold and messy and not for people who color inside the lines. I feel most like myself sprawled out on the floor in my ripped up jeans, with the music volume set above my thoughts, and a blank sketch pad in front of me.

I feel creative in this moment. Passionate. Free. Peaceful. Alive.

As I blurred charcoal lines with my fingers yesterday, I had a thought: what if another person never makes me feel as good as I feel right now? I think it’s possible. Maybe even likely. I don’t know what it says about me if my happiness peaks come from… a blank sketch pad and a handful of charcoal pencils. Or a Bible and a yoga mat. Or listening to the click-click of my cute high heels as I prance down the street with an iced coffee in hand.

I advocate for love and relationships for other people… But I don’t know if that’s in my future. Everyone says I’ll get married and have kids someday, but what if I don’t? What if it’s always just me? Am I okay with that, or will I be missing out on something?

And what if I never feel as attached to a man as I feel attached to my passions? What if I’d rather take photographs than hold someone’s hand? What if I’d rather go for a run than go on a date? What if I’d rather write something beautiful than try to make myself look beautiful for another person? Does everyone feel this way at some point? If so, do they finally just settle or do they meet someone who silences the questions?

I’ve always thought that I should just walk my own path and if I eventually run into someone else on that same path… well, maybe we can walk together. But now I’m almost 24 and I’m feeling pressure to walk across the street and join everyone else. They keep telling me to settle down and become more “relationship-oriented”… But, while they’re talking, all I can think about is how much I want to paint my path pink.

The world doesn’t seem to have a place for girls who want pink sidewalks. I don’t know where to walk anymore.

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  1. #1 by Julie on June 25, 2011 - 5:44 pm

    Girls who paint pink sidewalks are essential to the souls of girls who never stop twirling the baton.

  2. #2 by shelbyisrad on June 25, 2011 - 9:07 pm

    I think you keep going down your path painting it pink in your high heels! my path isn’t pink, its not much my color but i’m slowly dipping my fingers into the paint and beginning to paint my sidewalk how I’d like it, learning to tune out the world and blast my music and sing along no matter how off-key it is!

  3. #3 by breathenoah on June 25, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    “what if another person never makes me feel as good as I feel right now?”

    the assumption in your question is the problem. no-one can make you feel anything. no-one has so much power over you that they can make you feel happy, sad, love, or anything. that is, unless you let them. you get to decide. i choose smiles. :)

  4. #4 by Chris on June 25, 2011 - 11:59 pm

    It’s been a while, Jaclyn, though I’ve continued to read. You need not worry about the world, J. Or what it thinks ‘should’ be. The world doesn’t define who we are. We choose who we are in the world. I would hate to lose you to the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘should be’s’. And I’ve become rather fond of pink because of the joy a simple color can bring to your life. Fear not and no worries. Your hearts desires will find you and be more than you ever thought possible. Just be you, Jaclyn. And if you need company along the way, and the pink sidewalks and lavender skies, singing rainbows and turqoise grass, chocolate chip cookie scented roses and feather soft polkadotted puppies are real enough, wide enough, strong enough and full of wonder, then I would gladly be your friend and walk with you a while. You are special and beautiful just the way you are, Jaclyn. Hold fast.

  5. #5 by on June 26, 2011 - 2:23 am

    Dear Girl,

    I loved this post. I liked these parts in particular:

    ‘blank sketch pad and a handful of charcoal pencils. Or a Bible and a yoga mat’

    and

    ‘while they’re talking, all I can think about is how much I want to paint my path pink.’

    I also liked how you finished the post with a thought provocative question.

    I wish I had the answers for you! I could offer you a million quotes, such as, when the right man blah blah blah, but truly, I can only say that through personal experience ONE day never comes. And ONE day comes. No one knows how magical and mysterious our lives will be, what they will hold.

    I didn’t get married until I was 30! I’m SO thankful for my 20s. I wouldn’t have changed all of those tears for the smile I often wear today for anything.

    Luck and love and a blank sketch pad.

    Julie

  6. #6 by K on June 26, 2011 - 6:02 am

    Jaclyn, I, too, have wrestled with similar questions. (In fact, I’m currently working on a post that is about life seasons.) But the truth is, the Lord will speak to our hearts when we find the right person. And I believe that person will LOVE our creative hearts—and we will love who God created them to be. In my own life, I keep praying about meeting the right person. I keep trusting. And I keep waking up with a heart that wants to truly love each day, living in the moment and rejoicing in who God created me to be. So, I say, keep painting your path pink, serving the Lord, and following Him on your journey. He’ll lead us both exactly where we’re meant to go. :)

    P.S. I always love reading your posts. You have such a beautiful heart, and it shines in everything you write. Thank you for your honesty and creativity. It’s always a blessing to read your posts!

  7. #7 by thisbrokenhearthashope on June 26, 2011 - 9:54 am

    I could have written this myself, except I’m 5 years older feeling this exact same way. I get it. Every word.

  8. #8 by Kate's Bookshelf on June 26, 2011 - 10:42 am

    Jaclyn,

    Wow, you have no idea how much this post hit home. I’ve been in your shoes, and at times, I still feel like I’m there. I’m 29 and I’m still with my parents trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do. I thought that I would be married by 22 and when that came and went, I kept adding a year. In the last couple years I’ve realized that things don’t always come along when you want them to and you have to learn to be happy with areas of your life that are yours. I’m still working on that, but I have my moments of satisfaction when I’m writing or when I’m behind a camera. I’ve wondered if I’ll be like Jane Austen, not ever marrying and staying with my parents. At times it is depressing, but I can’t control it.

    I still hope to meet someone to share my dreams and life with, but I’m not racing to find them either. Don’t give up hope, but don’t focus soley on that other person.

    It’s never easy, but I know exactly how you feel. Thanks for stating all of this. And I hope you find what you are looking for.

  9. #9 by Heather on June 26, 2011 - 10:43 am

    YOU JUST READ MY MIND. Only, in MY world my sidewalks are purple. I love purple. :):)

  10. #10 by Annette on June 26, 2011 - 12:09 pm

    I used to think that marriage and children were in my future. I would meet the right man and we’d start a family. That didn’t happen, just circumstance I guess but none the less I’m 36 now and single with no children. I have to be honest sometimes that worries me but I don’t believe in being with just any one. And so I can’t sell out just cos I’m scared or lonely. I’m following my career dreams. And hopefully somewhere along the way I’ll meet my guy. I want to share my life, I have alot to give. I think its important to paint you own path Jaclyn. And I have no doubt the you will meet someone great, just right for you. I’m sure people say that to you all the time but I know one thing for sure, those with a good heart receive all that they wish in life, And that’s you x

  11. #11 by Caroline on June 26, 2011 - 1:45 pm

    You keep walking your path and being you. Then the right man will cross the road to join you – as he won’t be able to stop himself!

    Good luck and keep being you

  12. #12 by tealamangano on June 26, 2011 - 2:31 pm

    The world might not have a place for girls who want pink sidewalks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make one. Just be you. Keep doing what you love and forget about what society tells you to do. All that matters is what YOU want to do.

    I’m right there with you. I want pink sidewalks, too. Maybe I’ll cross the street and walk with you for a little while. :)

    xoxoxo

  13. #13 by Jaclyn Rae on June 26, 2011 - 9:31 pm

    I almost didn’t publish this post because I wasn’t sure if it made sense or if anyone would relate to what I was talking about. But I posted it anyway, and today I returned to see all these beautiful comments from you beautiful people. You’ve restored my faith in myself.

    Each of you has truly blessed me and I can’t find the words to express how much. It’s more than you commenting on something I’ve written… You’re encouraging me to keep moving forward and walking my pink path.

    When I was younger I felt like I didn’t fit in with everyone else. I felt invisible. I’ve found my place since then, but this blogging community has become a huge support network for me. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and for letting me get to know you. Thank you for letting me fit in with you.

    I wish you all the most beautiful things in life– peace, love, & happiness. <3

  14. #14 by youngromantic on June 27, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    Ohhhh I can totally relate! To everything you’ve said. EVERYTHING! Including feeling like you didn’t fit in when you were younger and feeling invisible. Sometimes I still feel like that. Just different from everyone else.

    My favourite moments happen when I’m by myself/alone with God. Walking by myself to book festivals and choosing a special book, journalling at the beach on a glorious summer’s day, making collages just for the heck of it with the music at full blast … and I think to myself, “nothing and nobody can take this away from me; it’s special.” Maybe someone down the road will make me feel like this, but maybe not, and I don’t expect them to because there’s something SO important about carving your OWN path in the word even when you have a significant other.

    Anne Morrow Lindbergh said that “certain springs are tapped only when we are alone” (I would HIGHLY recommend her book “Gift from the Sea”) and I think this is true. Right now, we’re both single, learning who we are, what we love, how perfectly God loves us in return, and I think this is a very rare, special time. Stay hopeful, keep asking questions (because there’s nothing wrong with asking them), keep writing inspring blogs, and keep walking down that pink sidewalk!

  15. #15 by Sharon on June 27, 2011 - 8:11 pm

    There is nothing wrong with feeling okay that you are alone. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a good thing. I have always heard the saying that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, and that once you stop looking for a significant other you will find them. It took me awhile to believe this, but I have learned that it is true. And, if you don’t find a person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, then you won’t be sad because you are happy by yourself. After my divorce, it took me a long time to get used to being by myself, but I finally have gotten to the point where it doesn’t bother me anymore. I have my family and I have my friends, but mostly I have God and He will always be with me so I’m not lonely. I just recently found your blog and I really enjoy it. God bless and keep you.

  16. #16 by emjayandthem on June 28, 2011 - 5:31 am

    My sidewalks are turquoise with silver glitter and ribbons of purple throughout :). I encourage you to read my post called “a relationship worth cultivating.”

    My mother’s sweet words of advice will resonate with you .. of that I’m sure:

    http://emjayandthem.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/a-relationship-worth-cultivating/

    You … are everything … just as you are.

    Cheers! MJ

  17. #17 by Rachael Eliz on July 10, 2011 - 7:03 am

    Don’t worry about it :) Relationships are great to be in, but before you can love someone else completely, you have to be able to love yourself. Keep using charcoal. And maybe one day, someone will love your passion as you do, and you will love to share it with them. Don’t worry about being ‘relationship-oriented’. Just trust that in God’s timing, He gives us people if and when the time is right. Meanwhile, delight in the beautiful world we inhabit. Live happily. Creatively. Passionately. :) x

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