Visual Artist/Black/Woman/Reflective/Unique

In a very categorized world, I find myself relating to so many categories. However, I do know that I was born to spread creativity. Whether it is through painting, dancing or teaching, I crave to distribute my creative energy. I tend to be drawn to visual activity. For example, before I went to school for my BA in Studio Arts, I wanted to obtain a certificate as an American Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf. The first time I saw someone sign in American Sign Language (ASL), I felt so connected to it. The fact that people were communicating by “dancing” their words among each other was so impressive. Interpreting wasn’t for me, but I am able to communicate in ASL. I believe that all of my interest and hobbies are not only for my fulfillment, but for others. To me, the best way I can spread creativity is by being an art educator in public schools. When you provide young children a space to create works of their own thoughts and beliefs, you’ll be amazed by their outcomes. Seeing children become innovative and critical thinkers gives me so much joy; and it can all start in an art classroom.

For me, I’ve always known my ability to create. However, I have not always known my own potential. The reason why is because during my adolescence (when friends were a priority) I kept the wrong people around me. I kept people around me who did not accept my Blackness and abused my confidence. When I removed those who blinded me of my further potential, I was able to recognize my own ambition. Everything became so clear. My ambition, social awareness, and worth.

Even though my ambition is clear, and my confidence has grown, verbally expressing my thoughts is not easy for me. Being an only child, I was very accustomed to keeping in my thoughts and ideas to myself without sharing them. I think it was because I had a fear of being judged, even at a young age. Speaking in front of my students today never bothers me, it’s speaking in front of my colleagues. When I overcome the fear of what others  think, I know that I will be able to be more successful than I can imagine. People always tell me to stop comparing my work to others. But it’s hard because it is so easy to get intimidated. When I truly understood why I should stop comparing myself, that’s when I did.

As an artist, I measure my skill growth by looking back at something I drew a year ago and being able to say, “Wow that’s terrible, I would do x-y-and-z to make this better.” In comparison, I measure my personal growth the same way. Everyday, I try to sit back and evaluate how I’ve grown to be a better person for me, the people I care about, and those that I want to impact in a positive way.

Everyone has a different story with different life experiences. I came to the realization that no one can be me, like I can be me. I think this is so important for people, especially Black woman, to understand. Every week I like to sit down and write 3 things that make me happy. I’ll start to notice it’s the little things that make me the most happy. Things like the cute pants I wore that day or the color I executed when I was mixing paint. All these little things make up our individuality and when we recognize those happinesses, we can become our utmost genuine and unapologetic selves.

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