How I learned to draw

Nonfiction by | February 7, 2010

I had it with me since then. It was what kept me sane from all those cynic thoughts I couldn’t prevent. It was my intense fondness for drawing. I was too obsessed with it. I couldn’t stand not doing it even for just a short while. It seemed as if my childhood days revolved around my sketch book. Drawing was my passion, my shock absorber.

I used to be very languid back then, more than what I am now. I was so sensitive that I had to pin my ears back on what others might be saying and doing behind me. I became very conscious of my words and actions because I did not want people to criticize me. I was a silent detective, collecting even the little signs of spitefulness. I admit that I had those irrational suspicions. I just couldn’t avoid them.

As a child, I was the silent and shy type. I didn’t have my own circle of friends. I always thought that nobody liked me. Maybe I was so boring that only a few wanted to be with me as their friend. That was the reason why friendship for me was unimportant, unlike any other kid. For me it was something I could live without. . That was why the only hobby I had as a child was drawing and nothing else.

In Kindergarten, I can still recall my teacher telling my mother that I was too fond of drawing even in class. Maybe she got tired of me because I rarely listened to her discussions. I just drew and think of princesses, flowers, and mansions even during recess and play time. I didn’t feel the desire to go out of the classroom and mingle with the students in school. I didn’t like going out and just running around the playground drenched in my sweat. Because I didn’t have friends, I was afraid to go to school without my mother. I didn’t want her to leave me. I cried whenever I found out that she had left even though she said she wouldn’t.

I wanted to grow up fast because for me coming of age was very difficult to deal with. I began getting curious with mature stuff. I wanted to do things like a real lady. I guess I just grew tired of people talking to me as if I were very naive. I wanted them to look at me not as a child, but as a woman—though I also understood that they won’t. I had a lot of hopes and wishes. The only thing that made them real was my drawing book. It served as my wish list of all the things I yearned for all my childhood life.

Sketching different things was my outlet. That was the only hobby I had learned to grow up with back then. It helped me draw out my uneasiness as a child. In my drawings, I was a princess who had everything that she wanted. I had a beautiful and classy name, Amanda, my favorite name. Everybody wanted to be with me. I lived in a castle with my wealthy family. Those were my fantasies drawn in my pad papers and notebooks. It was my only source of joy. Everything in it felt surreal. It made my life easier despite my apprehensions as a loner.

It was the summer after our elementary graduation when I finally gave up drawing. I was with my sister at that moment. We were playing with our Barbie dolls. Just when I thought I could continue having fun, my father called me. For the first time, I felt the authority in his voice. I never really got afraid of him until that time. He was holding my sacred drawing book. I realized that while we were playing, he was also leafing through its pages. My heart pounded even faster when he showed me what he found out. It was my illustration of a boy kissing a girl.

He asked me what that drawing meant. I wasn’t able to answer him. I felt like running away. Nodding seemed to be the easiest way out. I knew what he was thinking, that I might be doing it with someone already. I gave him an immediate response before he even tried to ask. I told him that I never really did it. My exact statement was, “Promise Pa, hindi ko talaga ginawa yan!” He just warned me. I knew it was a very lame assurance, but I still said it anyway. It was very embarrassing and degrading. Even though he told me that he won’t tell what he saw to my mother, I still felt ashamed of myself. What he said didn’t make the distress any less. Until now, I cringe whenever I remember that incident.

That confrontation got me paranoid whenever I saw my father. I didn’t want to watch soap operas because he thought that was where I got those sensual fantasies I drew. I just stayed in my room many days after what had happened. I tore all my drawings I considered as my comfort zone. It was hard seeing them all torn apart. There was a real sense of loss about letting it go. It may be difficult, but I still tried my hardest to establish some order in the mess.

It’s awkward recalling that humiliating memory. It makes me feel like I have been condemned just because of that kiss. I just drew it out of curiosity for what it should feel like. At least even in my sketch, I felt the excitement it could bring. I admit that I really was way too young to think about those things. I know it’s pretty peculiar for a twelve-year-old girl to think that way, but there is always an exception.

That longing never ended until I had my first kiss. I got hopelessly enthralled the moment I got kissed when I was sixteen. My first boyfriend who was four years older taught me the right way to kiss. I will never forget what he said that kissing is like eating an ice cream. I did not know what he really wanted to convey, but I think it’s because of how you move your mouth while drawing over the tongue on the ice cream.

I fell deeply in love with him. Not because he made my fantasies real, but because he made me feel that I was already grown-up, a real woman at last. No matter how much love I gave him, I still felt that he did not love me like I loved him. I knew he felt incomplete with our relationship. Maybe because all I could give him was pure and innocent love and nothing more. I was just sixteen, much younger than him, that’s why I wasn’t ready to what he wanted to do with me. I could just give him a kiss, and that was it. I gave the best I could give that’s why I expected the same. But that expectation just got me disappointed.

He flew to Singapore for a vacation. I had a feeling that when he’d get back, we would never be the same again. I was right. Yes, he came back but he became cold to me. Even the slight affection and desire he had for me had been replaced by a sudden and unexplainable apathy. That day, he gave me a ring with “I love you” written on it, and a teddy bear I named Sentosa Bear, but I did not feel his sincerity. I saw at once that it was particularly going to be a bad day. That was the last time we went out as a couple. He broke up with me a week after. He told me that I did not deserve to be with him, and that he wanted to walk his life alone.

I believed him. He was definitely unworthy of my love and heartfelt kiss. My father may have forgotten that incident seven years ago, but I will never forget his shallowness in breaking my heart. While he was in Singapore, he met a new friend. Her name was Marilag, a graduate from UP Mindanao. I got jealous of her. A year after, I got to know Marilag through a social networking site. We met and became friends. I called her ate since then. What’s more interesting was, I got to know her brother Ciovic too. It took me a year to finally get my bearings back, and because of Ciovic, I totally got over the lost love. We had been in full swing now for more than two years.

That princess from my drawing book was me. She finally found that abstract character kissing her with real passionate love. It has been years since I created a story out of mydrawing. I almost forgot how I used to draw. I remember that whenever I drew back then, I always felt that an enchanting mystery encapsulating my existence. I felt my pen giving life to what was in the paper.

I actually miss drawing. But it reminds me of my misery and solitude in the past. I have finally let go of drawing and my first kiss. I am satisfied with what I have now. Someone just made my imagination as big as life two years back. I am not going to turn back time and restore what I used to have.

One thought on “How I learned to draw”

  1. Hi Gel, I hope you don’t mind me commenting here… in public… haha! Sorry but that part about you being caught by your dad really made me laugh… aww poor baby. I remember the first time my dad went through my stuff and found a boy’s name I wrote on a piece of paper over and over again. Hahaha! I was so flustered and embarrassed >.<

    Your first boyfriend did not deserve you. He was sorely mistaken in thinking otherwise. He lied to you because he couldn't handle being with someone better than himself. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

    Sweet girl, I hope you find happiness in drawing again. It's such a wonderful talent to lose. I still draw stick figures and the like. The best thing I could probably draw is a coconut tree… lol!

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