Since the young age of eleven, mental health has been a large impacter in my life. I didn’t plan on making it to sixteen. That was never my plan. There was no way I would let myself continue living this life full of emotional torment. Something switched this past year in my mind, however. I didn’t see life as this annoyance I had to put up with. I didn’t wake up dreading the fact that I had to get up and start another day. I didn’t see the world as the enemy, myself as a ghastly parasite needing to be exterminated. I found a sense of worth inside me, despite the years of torture I put myself through. The other day I found myself at a moment of complete peace–laying in grass, feeling the blinding sun, cheeks warm, thoughts calmer than the waking dawn. It almost brought me to tears; I didn’t remember the last time I was able to be carefree without experiencing self-deprecative thoughts. Smiling genuinely into the camera, I took a snapshot of this small, but mighty moment. That picture is what inspired me to create this artwork–I wanted to find a sense of closure in myself, and engrave in my mind the exact instant I realized there had been a change. I wove lime green ribbon into my hair to represent the stories that are hidden inside us all, pushed aside due to the stigma of struggle in our society. I’m not going to push those ribbons deep inside my pocket anymore, away from the world to see. I am proud of who I became, and proud of my journey to getting to where I am today–sixteen.