What Makes Us Who We Become


Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas


I love the idea of a brand new start. Starting over, with an absolutely clean canvas. Sort of like when we are born, free of ideas, concepts, beliefs or notions. The idea that, we have learned everything we know from anyone and everyone who has ever come in contact with us, is intriguing. Moreover, the thought that we have absorbed information from everything that we have ever seen, heard, felt, touched or tasted, brands life as even more mysterious.


“As long as you’re true to you, you believe it and you make others believe, then what you’re doing is just art. If you give everybody a blank canvas and some paint, not everybody’s picture is going to be exactly the same, but it’s still art. I just do what I do.” Jake Owen


Now, to think that we are who we are -or think we are – because of all these interactions, experiences, relationships and contributions, is mind-boggling. Some of this learning or knowledge must have been absorbed subliminally, some must have been accepted voluntarily and some was enforced, surely.


Painted Pictures

We are now painted pictures, no longer clean canvases. These pictures portray learnt rules, regulations, guidelines, principles, opinions, doctrines, dogmas and the different ways of BEING. However, none of us are characterised by the same depiction. We are unique, part of it is because our canvases were painted by different painters trying to illustrate their discernment of the bigger-picture.

Since birth, as clean canvases, we had everyone that came our path; pick up a paintbrush saturated with the colour of their choice, paint away on our lovely pure selves. Some of these artists are very skilled at their craft and they carefully painted lovely mirages as they perceived them. Some are not really sure of what they are doing, but try to do their very best. Others, however, do not know what they are doing and they do not care how they are doing it, they just add their brush strokes to the canvas anyway.


We are born into the

World Like a blank canvas

And each person that crosses our path

Takes up the brush and makes his mark

Upon our surface, so it is that we develop

But we must realize there comes a day

That we must take up the brush and finish the work

For only we can determine

If we are to be Just another painting or a Masterpiece”

By Steven Javan Jones


Why paint differently

Now here we are, beautiful canvases, with different art forms depicted by many different artists. I must also add that some of us share the same artists i.e. the same parents, the same country, same school teacher, same culture and so on. However, as pointed out, even the artists we share, paint differently each time, they never paint the same image. Why is that? After all, we could be sitting in the same class, listening to the same teacher, telling us the same thing. Then why is she painting differently on each and every one of us?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we all came bearing different pictures already depicted on our canvases. Consequently, the next artist works with the available space on the canvas and uses the available colour on the colour palette.

Here is a question, what happens when we wake up one day and suddenly we are aware of the labels and identities that have become synonymous with who we are? What if one day we strongly feel that the painting does nothing to represent who we believe we are?


 “I am not a typical human being. I am me and don’t try to be anything but that because God didn’t give us all different fingerprints if he wanted us all to be the same.” – Tammy Wooster


Who do I choose to become

How do we start over? How do we erase the picture and paint something that we believe characterises our true essence? Is the desire to start over with a clean canvas denies who we are and where we came from? Or are we truly defined by rules, culture, laws, race, regulations, opinions and belief systems? Finally, what about our part as creative artists…how do we paint on canvases that come our way at any given moment?

Perhaps we are meant to be great artists. Perhaps it all depends on what kind of painters we choose to be. Do we choose to paint beautiful mansions with many doors and windows that lead to many different possibilities, or do we choose to paint dungeons with no way out?


Thank you for reading.

I see you,

Lungisa Sonqishe


© Lungisa Sonqishe and ELEVEN11 BLOG, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lungisa Sonqishe and ELEVEN11 BLOG with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



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