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Rising from the Ashes

By: Fiona Purcell

Rising from the Ashes chronicles Fiona Purcell's experiences with recovery. She strives to de-stigmatize addiction by describing her journey as honestly as she knows how in hopes that she can bring about some level of understanding and acceptance.

All the Crayons in the Box

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Jul 22, 2015

A few years ago now I was working on a "mom" project for Valentine's Day. As parents know, food allergies have put an end to the days of bringing cupcakes and candy to class for such holidays or birthdays. We now have to come up with non-edible treats for these celebrations.  I was sitting down with all the kids' old crayons, removing the wrappers and sorting them by color. I would then be putting them in a heart shaped candy mold and melting them into heart shaped crayons that my kids could then give to others on Valentine's Day.

My friend stopped by, and was intrigued by what I was doing. She sat down to help me peel the wrappers off and sort the broken pieces. As we chatted and went along, I noticed that she was either ignoring the dark colors like, black, brown or grey or making a move to throw them out. I asked her what she was doing and she cheerily said, "Well, you don't want to make heart crayons out of these ugly colors do you?" I assured her that I did, as I wanted the kids to be able to color with the full range of hues. We actually argued about this for a while and it became obvious to me that we had a fundamental difference in outlook.

My friend is a sweet lady. She is intelligent, funny and bubbly. She is accepting, patient, kind and creative in ways I still can't grasp.  She is a ninja at free-hand heart and butterfly cut outs, a varsity player in the "mom" project arena to be sure. For all her good qualities, she does not see herself deserving of the happiness that I would bestow upon her if I could. One of her flaws is that she is a perpetual and forced optimist. She wills herself to see good where perhaps there isn't. She wears rose-colored glasses and would rather not talk about things unpleasant or unseemly. All things considered not such bad flaws, but flaws nonetheless.

Herein lies our fundamental difference in outlook. My friend only wants to paint pictures with pretty colors. She wants her life to look a certain way. She doesn't want to use the ugly colors. While I'm not a gloomy person and certainly an optimist, I see that the world has dark lines among the pretty shapes and they are what give the picture depth and perspective. I don't see how you can paint a realistic picture without shadows. I think the shadows are there to remind us how far we have come, how beautiful the other colors are in contrast and how deep and meaningful our life is. I prefer to use all the crayons in the box.

 

Related:

The Challenges of Summer Sobriety

The Many Faces of Recovery

A Love Sparked by Recovery

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