I was always the kid who got into trouble, who kept to myself, and never talked about my feelings, I would just hold in the pain until it went away. It’s not that I didn’t want to share, but writing always made me over think the things I went through, and speaking never seemed an option. That’s when a light bulb turned on in my head: I could release emotions by drawing.

I started to draw out my emotions was when I was about six years old. During that time it was very hard for me. My mother had a tumor in her head and the doctor wasn’t sure if she was going to live or not. Because I was so young, I didn’t really understand how did my mom get sick? and why did it have to be her? My mother is not only my hero she is my best friend. During that time, I had no choice but to live with my father for a little while. While living with him, due to his drinking problem, I always kept my distance and would stay in my room all day drawing. The first drawing I made was a heart with ribbons around it and on the ribbon it said, “I love you, mommy.” Most of my drawings were about my mother. Some were cards and others were of my mother and me holding hands. Through adversity I had found my medium.

Once that pencil touched my sketchpad, there was no off button. I would keep drawing until the pencil broke. And then I hit upon the mural in my room…It wasn’t easy to decide what to draw at first, to switch from finite paper to a larger area. I began to think deeply of what to design on my wall but of making a detailed plan, I chose to design along the way, having the confident faith that sooner or later the mural would come together. As a result, the mural is a timeline of my past and my memories of what I’ve gone through while growing up. I began to think about my dad as being just one painful part of my life within a bigger framework, and similarly about the time when my mom got sick. All these memories haunt me but drawing them helps me channel my emotions and let go of the past.

But the main person who truly influenced me to become an artist was my middle school art teacher, Mrs. O’Meara. She showed me the power of texture, how to merge colors into one, to set a tone. She showed me the importance of detail, too, and of adding scenery, to make my drawings pop off the page. All this and so much more.

By practicing my drawing skills, I began to evolve as well. By taking myself seriously, I could actually feel myself making a difference to myself and to who I wanted to become. As a result, I’m no longer the kid self-consciously hiding in the corner, but the artist confidently sharing my vision with the world. Instead, I now feel as if I’m a flower blooming for the first time, and my drawings are the petals. I see my drawings as bringing life and happiness into my world. They have become my sanctuary. They spur me to keep growing and evolving.

In the future I plan on following my dreams of becoming a successful architect. Just by thinking of my dreams, I can imagine myself overcoming every obstacle to owning my own architecture corporation and giving back to my loved ones. By becoming an architect, I know that I can make a huge difference in the world. Even after I grow old and pass away, people will always remember me through the designs I have created – in my drawings and my buildings, but especially on my wall.

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