www.whyville.net Aug 2, 2009 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

My Constant

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You know, I've been thinking a lot lately. About everything. I mean, college is just around the bend after this year. I just got my license. I have wonderful friends. Actually I have a lot of them. In real life, and on Whyville. Then I really started thinking. Yeah, I'm somewhat of a people person . . . but do people really know what's buried deep inside? No. In fact, I'd like to say many people don't really know me.

I have always been more of a leader, and a listener. I'm perfectly comfortable with that. What I realized though is that I never specifically state how I feel, and I'm uncomfortable with doing so. In the past two or three years I've put in a hefty amount of effort in trying to express my emotions to my friends. It never really works. Yeah I can do it, but I know they just don't understand. I talk AROUND the emotion, and never smack right down on it. I'm a gal with bad aim, sadly attempting to use a flyswatter. I just get the nods and the old, "I know exactly how you feel," phrase.

I wish I could believe that. Honestly. But I guess you will never know exactly how I feel. I can never pinpoint it in the open, because I can't trust people enough. I don't want to expose myself too much. Although my respect for those who can do this is filled to the brim, I can't turn to them to fully rely on for venting my emotions.

If I want people to actually understand me, I'd like them to see it. You can hear voice, read my facial expressions, and take in my body language, but that's personally not how I enjoy conveying my emotions.

My family always said I was different from my friends. A good kind of different. When I was little I started to discover this quickly, once I entered school. Well, once I entered art class.

I remember it like it was just yesterday, how we'd all color in the first grade. Everyone would look at my pages and say, "Why is the sky green?" or, "You color weird." I took great pride in not following the rules. This was a world where I could do away with restrictions, and push the buttons as many times as I pleased. The best part was that I actually got away with it.

Time started to pass by. As I grew, my passion for art started to blossom. I soon realized that it was more than something I did when I was bored. It was my hobby. Anything I could get my hands on was soon decorated in popsicle sticks, glitter, paint, cotton balls, ink, or even marshmallows. My family supported me. They got sick of the messes, but they encouraged me to keep being creative.

See once third grade rolled by, I got really shy. So this is was my alternative to talking. I spoke to people through my art. I can vividly recall my third grade art teacher hovering above me in class, just watching me paint. She just stood there in a daze, looking slightly shocked. All the other kids goofed off and flung paint at each other. I merely closed myself off from everyone, and took a seat in the corner with my friend. We wouldn't really talk much. We just laughed and conversed here and there. It was my personal high. I looked forward to art class every week.

One day in the fifth grade I got a letter from my teacher. I was really nervous, because I thought I was in trouble. I carefully held the envelope in my clammy palms, until I got the nerve to open it. She wanted me to leave class right away and go to her room. Little did I know, that would be a big turning point in my life.

She warmly invited me to take a seat, so I did. Then she told me I was gifted. I was special. I was different. My eyes lit up with joy when she said I had a lot of potential with my art. I was only having fun when I went to art class. I didn't know I had potential.

Fun started to merge with seriousness over the years. I was no longer a small child. I was a middle school student. I always carried a sketchbook with me. I had a ton of friends too. Which was odd, since I didn't talk much. Everyone always looked through my sketchbook though. It became a daily ritual, to pass it around the class. This ritual carried on to junior high . . . until I got sick of sketchbooks. I wanted to do something bigger, better, something more meaningful.

My mom took me to Pat Catans to get nice art supplies. Canvas. Paint trays. Prismacolor pencils. Knead erasers . . . Call me a geek, but I was in heaven.

I dreaded art class, but loved it at the same time. It was boring. I never learned anything. Stippling? Nah. Crosshatching? Hello . . . try years ago. I glided by with a 100% every year. I soon got bored, and stopped cooperating with my next art teacher. She talked to me about it, saying I'm throwing something too special away. I just cried. I didn't want to do something that people forced me to do. I wanted to do art at free will. I felt torn between two worlds - reality and fantasy.

Luckily we came to a compromise. She told me to take it easy. To take a break. Soon I was back in gear. My artwork was, as I said, a lot more serious. I had an infatuation with drawing eyes. Crying eyes. Nobody knew why, and when they asked why I drew them I'd say, "I don't know. I just like eyes." I think I was even oblivious to how art became my portal to set my emotions free. Junior high was really horrific for me. I was really depressed for about two or three years. I put on a smile, but when I came home it wasn't anything near that. Nobody knew how I felt.

The feeling of graphite rubbing against textured paper in a rhythmic pattern calmed me. The smell of paint so strong, so close to my face as I lean in to stroke a fresh, white canvas to the point in which I can almost taste it . . . made me feel secure. People and things come, go, and change. Art? Yeah, I play Jesus in this. Get out. I control what comes and goes. And nothing ever leaves unless I decide to trash a piece. Art is my constant. Art is the one thing I can completely pour my heart out to. Sometimes I will consume myself in it to the point where the world around me is gone. I can laugh, smile, cringe, and cry as I make my compositions. I am the creator. I am the puzzle maker. I can put a disguise on my work. I make it look like such a happy, energetic piece, yet I was such a sad, pathetic mess while making it. It's something that only the painting can understand. Sure, go try to interpret my work. You could very well misunderstand it though.

When I look back on my stuff I see those rocks and bumps that I've overcome. I don't know what I would have done without being able to make a visual using rage, or joy. I may not even be who I am today. I also have to give a lot of credit to my junior high (and now she's also my high school) art teacher. She has helped me through a lot, even if I didn't say much.

Secretly, I also write a lot. Well it's not much of a secret anymore. Not after junior year's poetry project. After that I became more comfortable with showing my work to people. Those words . . . yeah. You can understand what I may feel. You may be able to get to know me through reading what I write. That art: it's a bit complicated, but it's way easier to interpret than my visuals.

What I'm saying though, is that I feel I am incapable with directly stating exactly what sets me off and whatnot in one on one (in person) conversation. Maybe my point is coming through here, or maybe it's not. All I know is I know what I can lean on. It'll always be waiting for me. If I need to talk to friends, they're there too . . . but it's not the same.


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