The first time I picked up a paint brush I was five. It was the first day of school, and Miss Gorden told me to paint what I wanted. All the other girls were painting the mountains, while the boys attempted to paint cars. All I did was paint two straight lines connecting at a point.I remember Miss Gorden applauding me for my simplistic piece of art. Cleaning the paint brush was the most satisfying thing I did that day. The warm running water against my palms, as I moved the paint brush back and forth until all the paint rinsed from the brush. I went home, feeling a sense of accomplishment.
The first time I clicked a button on a camera I was fourteen. It was freshman year of high school. I was at a new school and did not know anyone. I knew I had 'Photo One' first period, but I got lost and walked into class ten minutes late. The teacher handed me a camera and told me to take three pictures to represent myself. I walked around and found a nice place to sit and draw. I drew something quick, and took a picture of the drawing. Then I ran outside and took a close up picture of a ladybug on a piece of grass. I spotted a bridge and decided to take a picture of that too. I came back to class as confident as I could be. The teacher looked at them, and only questioned the one of the bridge. I told her that this bridge described me, because I'm walking into a new experience, and leaving the past behind me. With this exercise, she wanted us to take something simple, and make it about us. She praised me for being so creative.
The first time I wrote an actual poem I was sixteen. Prior to this, I just felt as though I was scribbling random thoughts and rhyming words on paper. While I love writing, poetry did not come easily. It was too personal. Too "me." I used that to write and submit a piece called, "He Loves Me, But I'm Not Skinny." It hit at what I struggled with most- self confidence. Of course I thought it was crap. Until I got it back the next week. My teacher urged me to enter it into a national poem contest. I finally gave in. Within a few weeks, I got a letter, saying that they needed my signature so I could be published in their book titled "Accomplished." Accomplished? Is that what I was?
Sometimes people don't understand my love for the arts. I've been called obsessive when I get into an art project. Peeling the wrapping off crayons for a melted crayon art, unknotting string or yarn to make jewelry - all of these things ignite such joy and passion in me.
Who would've thought two lines, a picture of a little bridge, and a poem about feeling fat would spark such love in me? I take pride in anything I creatively make. I may not be the next Sylvia Plath or the next Georgia O'Keeffe but I am me, and that's all I've ever wanted to be.