Originally published on Sky’s Art Bucket

I want to paint you a picture, based on first-person perspective.   

    Comparing myself to others was easy. It always has been. When I say that, I don’t mean it in an over self-confident way, like they were “them” and I was “me” in a sense that I was better than everyone else, but rather the opposite. 

 I was just a shy elementary student when I started to become aware of my flaws.

It was a really simple thing, but there was a girl who used to poke fun at the mole on my back, and I began covering it. It’s not particularly large, just obvious, and I always wore a jacket or had my hair down from that day on. I covered it for a long time. It was only about the time I hit 10th grade that I decided I didn’t care if people saw it anymore. It was just a mole; lots of people had them. To think, I was so ashamed of a natural thing simply because the words of another made it so. I doubt she remembers that now.

    I wish I had known then, that I had nothing to be ashamed of, even now I struggle with that reality. The voices and opinions of others seem to have always directed my life. 

In middle school, I realized the difference between myself and the popular kids. 

    I had a best friend in elementary. We were close, but that changed not too long after entering sixth or seventh grade. I was very suddenly a weirdo, and her friends told me that with their expressions. I’d like to go into the story of how, but I don’t want to call any of them out if they happened to read this. Let’s just say it happened because my sense of humor didn’t click with them. I’d never really understood the pain of losing a friend like I had then.

The most vivid memory I have is the day that I sat by her as she sat curled up on the bleacher stairs crying. She looked up at me with such sad, helpless eyes, then jumped up and left without saying a word, leaving me on the bench by myself wondering if she was ok, but knowing it wasn’t me she wanted to be the one to check up on her. I knew it was over then. At least, that’s how it felt for me.

    I was practically a loner then, there were people I would talk to, but it wasn’t until eighth grade that everything was okay again. My bestest friend came back to school from homeschooling, and so we had each other’s company, as well as the company of the friends she happened to make. I had another companion as well, who’d walk home with me after school most days. We’d stop and browse the local drug mart, then follow the road to the library behind my house, where we’d spend some time until she was picked up, and then I would walk home alone. I always enjoyed the time spent with her.

 My passion for art started in elementary school.

But as I entered middle, I practically hid behind my sketchbook, carrying it everywhere. It’s weird that no one made fun of me then, most people encouraged my artistic strife. When I look back at the drawings I made in the past now,  I can’t help but laugh. I think the person who most encouraged me was an old crush. He was still a current crush at the time, we used to be in band class together. 

    We were having some kind of break day when as usual I brought out my sketchbook and started drawing. My crush jumped suddenly beside me, asked me to hand it to him, ran over it with his eyes, and then complimented it. He had never done that before, and I blushed, happy. There were “ooos” all around us, very loud and embarrassing, because everyone in that room knew I had a crush on him, and apparently, as I learned later in life, he had a crush on me, too. I never knew that fact though. We never dated. No one had told me then. I often wonder what he’s doing now. 

    Art and I are partners in crime.

It was his words that caused me to really want to improve.

What started as a passion, which grew in necessity as I was getting accepted by the people around me, eventually turned into something I wanted for myself more than anything; not for the sake of acceptance, but for the sake of being. I don’t feel like myself if I’m not creating in some form or another, that fact remains true. 

    Art and I are partners in crime. She expresses the words I can’t say. I stick to her like a clingy best friend. I rely on her. So, I want to do her justice. It’s in that justice that my 2022 art resolution applies: 

    To improve my artwork by practicing anatomy, highlights and lowlights based on a heavy light source, and foreshortening in partnership of dynamic poses. 

    For that whole spiel I had just written above, these three goals may seem a bit lackluster, but accomplishing each isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    Check out my full article here.

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