A year ago, I was feeling empty and incomplete. In my self-portraits, the black and white outlines portray me being in a dark place not knowing what would happen next. As I began to look at my situation, I looked to find things that would make me feel happy, complete. The color started to return to my life when I began to draw to express my feelings. This is where you see the color return, and the positive changes in me. In looking at me in black and white and color, I see hope that my life will continue to get better and better.
Over the past year I’ve experienced many changes in who I am. I am an incredibly social person, and suddenly I found myself alone and without a way to connect with people. My art highlights two characters, LadyBug and Cat Noir. They are kind and generous, and they never leave people out. I wanted to express that even though I feel alone, that I’m not. Reaching out to others is important, and everyone matters.
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.
My submission relates to hope because it represents what has helped me and been there for me through the difficult changes this past year. It’s what matters the most to me. Reaching for the green ribbon represents what I keep on going for what gives me motivation to keep on pushing forward. My family is my hope, I hope to help my family in all ways possible as I get older.
The concept of growth and change is a desire to become a better version of yourself. Growth in yourself leads you to new opportunities, opportunities that don’t come about until you grow and change into the person who is ready for them. Also as you grow and evolve, you learn to adjust changes in yourself. Some people never want to change. But change promotes happiness and mental strength. What I drew relates to mental health because taking care of yourself is important. Having confidence, motivation and self love leads you to accomplishing your goals and having a positive mindset. Your mental health is a priority.