The pink elephant’s story
For the final exam of the first year of the art therapy course, I had to present 10 different art techniques which I used during the past year and to present them in a coherent and united manner. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to present the Chez Pink Elephant project, but I didn’t know how I would tie in all the other 9 art techniques.
A friend of mine gave me the idea that I could incorporate all the elements together with a story. And so, one evening, I sat down in front of a white sheet of paper and the following fairy tale streamed from my fingertips without any premeditated thought or effort. It’s as if the story was always there. It’s as if I knew it all along and it was simply ready to take shape on a white piece of paper.
Not surprisingly, this is the story of the Chez Pink Elephant project and how it came into existence.
The Pink Elephant
“Once upon a time there was a gray elephant. He was born on a warm, summer night. The moment that he arrived into this world, he uttered a loud cry. It was as if he already knew that his journey would be a difficult one. His parents were happy to welcome him, but his father had no heart and his mother was mute, incapable of expressing her feelings. The elephant grew quickly, but life was not a joy for him. He felt lost most of time. His thoughts were like a maze without any exit. He did not know who he really was and his life had no particular meaning. He felt alone and vulnerable. It was as if he had a hole in his heart that he could never fulfill. Then, one day he said: “I am just a gray, banal elephant. I’m not at all lovable, so I will put this mask on my face and I will leave into the whole, wide world. This colorful mask will protect me from my own fears and from everyone whom I will come across.
He did not have a specific purpose. He just wanted to leave without looking back. Maybe he wanted to find himself, maybe he wanted to know what true love feels like. So he walked, and walked, and walked. He met many different people who liked his mask. They were delighted to meet such a colorful and joyful elephant. The elephant was happy to see that people liked his mask. But behind this facade, the elephant was still unhappy. He knew that if he took off his mask, people would see just a simple gray and unhappy elephant.
But one day he met a different girl. She was kind and gentle, and felt completely comfortable with herself and the elephant. One day, she asked the elephant if he wanted to go on a long journey with her. The elephant was so fascinated by her that he accepted without any hesitation. And so, they began their journey. The girl liked to speak about love and what it means to love someone as he or she is, with all their faults and qualities. The elephant listened closely with great care and pleasure. He began seeing her as the mother he never had, who knew all the ingredients of true love. They traveled the world together, talking and sharing their lifetime stories. The elephant began to open up little by little. He talked about his past, his parents and about how he never felt loved. Meanwhile, their journey began to take beautiful contours. Their route began to take the shape of a large, colorful mandala, which seemed like a maze of thoughts but this time it was a maze with plenty of exits.
And when the two were nearing the end of their journey, the elephant felt like his mask was beginning to crack. It began to detach from the elephant’s face, and as the elephant uttered a loud cry similar to the one of his birth, the mask fell off completely. Behind the mask there was a beautiful pink elephant. The elephant looked in amazement and said: “I’m pink!? I was gray before, how come now I’m pink?” And the woman replied: “You were always pink. You were always a unique elephant, but you couldn’t see it before. You are not as banal as you think you are. The elephant uttered another loud cry as if he was reborn. “You mean you always knew what lay behind my mask?” asked the elephant. “Yes, I always knew your true color and all the pain and fears that hid behind your mask”. The elephant stood before the woman, looking into her eyes without fear, without hesitation, without sorrow. He was feeling for the first time true love.
Later, the woman inspired by the story of the elephant, decides to write a diary about all the emotions that lay behind masks, in order to help other elephants find their true color.
If you like the story, please feel free to read it to your children or anyone who might be interested in hearing it.
Story credits: Anamaria Olaru
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