Alternatives

The first time our skulls stacked upon our spines without aid and begin life with our heads held high between the shoulders, life veterans snapped a pair of goggles with rubber straps which fit snugly over the curve of our developing minds, tinted black, tinted white.

That was our first encounter, the only way we would see the world as the years form, the goggles both stretching and restraining as we grew our minds.

Black tints the tantrums of our instincts not under control, the piercing screams in the silence of the trains, the flailing limbs on the linoleum floors of toy stores, the furrowing of brows, the ominous silence a harbinger to the hard slap across the cheeks. Then it’s the guilt of enjoyment, the afterimage of single digit test scores across tear stained cheeks, ears ringing from lessons delivered in pain, the silence of the air as you speak to find nobody echoing with you, the childish taunts that drove arrows straight through you, the chill of fogged up glass windows from the outside looking in. Black is the blanket of smoke which smothering you to get as low as you can, noses pinched, to get to your next breath of fresh air in the light, tinted white.

White tints the silence when adults are conversing, the sanguine smiles when acknowledged, the “thank you”s which came from voice boxes and not our hearts, the stay out of the way, the hunched backs over papers, pen in hands, scribbling through the night, the sweet taste of victory of hearing your name echoed back at you together with rankings above other names, the annual handshakes with very important but unfamiliar men, the flashes of film cameras, afterimage of the teeth of parents beaming proud. In the white we also find words like “elite school”, “doctors”, “scholarships”, “lawyers” rolled around in tongues, held in between lips like candies, the aroma of a dinner feast to welcome the son of a respectable Chinese family with prospects bright as white, the redness of cloths and weddings, the porcelain teacup pinched between fingers, the delightful cries of grandchildren reverberating a newly constructed BTO flat, a smattering of small feet running across wooden floors.

What if our world is painted in colours beyond black and white?

Reach your palms up behind your head, slip your fingers under the curve of your scalp and snap the tinted goggles off.

Behold a world which explodes in colours, one where children run wild in the woods under the warm sun, dirt on their faces, mud on their knees, where learning the skills of happiness and friendships take precedence over hitting numbers on a paper, where there is no white or black, no RIGHT OR WRONG.

How about coming out of college, pursing your passions, starving on a lower-tiered starting pay and not feeling the sting of judgment? How about getting to know your instincts better in the beds of friends, in the arms of strangers, in the embrace of pure nature? How about building a long and successful future with another girl in a mobile camper van, based on nothing but trust, hope and a golden retriever? How about a life without a house but a home in every corner of this beautiful Earth? How about solitude? How about all the colours of the rainbow without pain and suffering?

How about that?

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