Dreaming Beyond Dreams

Dreaming Beyond Dreams

Confined to a wheelchair, Emma always felt like she was outcast by her family. She was never able to be involved in many of the family activities, and didn’t want to hold them back from doing things she could not do. For example, the family took a hiking trip down the Appalachian Trail. It was a long trip that was supposed to take over six months and it would be a very difficult, if not impossible, journey for Emma to make. After three weeks, most of the family members decided they didn’t want to finish. Only her cousin, Kevin, continued the journey. He made it the entire 2,190+ miles. The whole family was proud of him, including Emma.

Even though she was proud and mostly okay with her situation, Emma often dreamed beyond her capabilities. She would read about those with disabilities that accomplished amazing things like Stacey Kozel, who completed the Appalachian trail as a quadriplegic. Instead of inspiring, Emma found these stories even more depressing. She didn’t have the drive to do something like that.

Emma loved painting, however. She would often spend all day painting and sometimes spend weeks working on the same work. Over time, her abilities grew so much she could paint a person, making it look as if it were a photograph. Her family was amazed and often asked her to paint them. Emma refused to paint anyone real. All of her paintings were of people she conjured from her imagination.

Her canvas was how she expressed who she wanted to be or whom she imagined she would be if she could walk. She made four paintings, which she referred to as her masterpiece collection. The four subjects represented different aspects of who she saw herself to be.

Ash represented a creative, rebellious side of her. Ash smoked cigarettes, had tattoos, and was into cult classics and indie movies. Her favorite movie was Rocky Horror Picture Show and frequently quoted the movie. A deadhead, Ash never believed that Jerry Garcia died. In her mind, he will live on forever.

Mali was originally from Jamaica, although he was very good at blending in. He could hold conversations with two people switching back and forth between having an American accent and a Jamaican accent. Mali was pretty relaxed, liked to smoke pot, but definitely didn’t consider himself a pothead. Mali could party with anybody and had the best dance moves around.

Eli spent most of their time geeking out on retro video games, loved sloppy joes, and was spent a lot of time chatting with people online. They loved everyone and could get along with everyone, regardless of how others viewed them. They rarely complained about anything.

Marcia was a thrill-seeker. Roller coasters, skydiving, and traveling the world were what Marcia was all about. She liked piercings and loved to wear clothes that didn’t match. It was one way she refused to conform.

These four works encompassed so many of the distinct personalities that Emma felt within her. By painting them in different ways, she showcased who she saw herself as, even if the world didn’t see it. Perhaps one day her masterpiece collection will inspire her to be her dreams.