Once upon a time there was a boy who had an evil stepfather. This little boy was a dreamer though and used his imagination to escape his horrible life at home. Another boy took him to a library one day and introduced him to a magical world of books. The boy got a library card and took home a stack of books to read to his brothers and sisters. The boy was so proud that he couldn't wait to get home to share his new found joy with his younger siblings. With each step he took the smile inside of his heart grew wider with excitement.
When he walked through the door his evil stepfather plunged at the boy and threw him to the ground and then kicked him and the books across the floor. While the boy was lying there bleeding one by one his evil step father tore up the beautiful books and threw them into the trash. Tears and blood were all the boy could taste. After all the books were destroyed his evil stepfather ripped up the boy's library card into tiny pieces and threw them into the boy's tear drenched face demanding that he never return to the library again.
As the boy grew into a young man he was still afraid to walk into a library and to explore the magical world of books. Years into his early manhood he met a woman who introduced him to his inner child a child who still yearned for books. Since the woman had a vast library of her own he started reading her books until he got up enough courage to walk back into a library on his own.
The day he walked into a library twenty years after his stepfather had forbid him not to was a monumental event for the young man. He walked into the children's library and spoke these words, "You evil stepfather no longer rule over me so I give my inner child permission to take out any books that he wants to out of this library!" The young man left the library that day with a stack of children's books to read to himself because no one had read stories to him or his siblings as children. The young man loved the stories so much that he wanted to share them with others so he began to memorize them and to perform them as a storyteller to groups of children and adults.
Over the next few years the young man started reading books on many different topics and began to acquire quite a bit of knowledge. His friends started to notice him becoming studious and suggested that he go to college. But he kept hearing the inner voice of his evil stepfather saying that he was too stupid to ever go to college. Finally at thirty years old he got up the courage to go to college. Still fearing that he was stupid he was afraid to look at his first graded paper. When he saw an A+ staring at him on that paper he began to cry healing tears. Tears that said that he wasn't really stupid after all. He continue to get A's in college and over time his confidence in himself began to grow.
By the time he got to university he had decided that his interests were in writing and art. Not sure whether or not to major in writing or in art he studied both. Although he was a good writer he discovered that he was a very fine artist and decided to pursue visual art during his years at the university. By the time he graduated he was an award winning artist in his own country and was becoming known internationally as well.
Now years after his graduation I am proud to say that I know this courageous and accomplished young man because this man is me. Inside of you and me are courageous young people who survived against terrible odds but we can emerge at any point to claim what is rightfully ours. I may not have become an artist until I was thirty-six but the important thing is that I have breathed life back into the dreams of a shattered childhood. May you find the courage to do the same my brothers!
*dedicated to Gaby who inspired me to write this!!