Today I would like to briefly examine how I became the fun loving crazy person I am today. How did I become a zombie movie obsessed individual that finds art in the spray of fake blood and the careful tearing of a shirt? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
This is me at the age of six with my mom. When I was five my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; no one really explained anything to me past, “Mom is sick, don’t bother her.” This is the farthest point I can trace back to for when I became high-anxiety since I almost gave myself an ulcer at the age of five.
Over the coming years my dad’s antics loosened me up to where I wasn’t rigid and taking everything seriously. School and extra-curricular activities were still really stressed upon by my mom, and my dad kept me busy with soccer and reffing over the years. Both of my parents just kept pushing me forward.
When I was thirteen my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer again, and this time they only gave her a year tops. I threw myself into extra activities like coaching soccer in order to keep a smile on mine and my mom’s face in order to distract both of us from what we though was going to happen. Like any mom she was more concerned with keeping my life as normal as possible over any pain she was in.
By eighteen, I had graduated high school and my mom thanks to a miracle was in remission again. These experiences with cancer had taught me that everyday was to be cherished and to go out and live life. This was because honestly, you don’t know what’s in store for yourself in the future.
So in college I began to express myself through my interests in anime, or Japanese animation, by going to conventions, and cosplaying, or dressing up as characters, despite my mom thinking it was silly. My digital media work also was an outlet. It was not, however, until I began to travel for my art practice that I truly began to find myself.
I began to experience new things and different cultures, and began to slowly grow out of my small town, socially awkward self, and began to get a taste of what the world had to offer.
However, during my study abroad to this school two years ago, my Aunt Brenda died of cancer of all things. I flashed internally back to my own experiences with my mom. I had no real support system here since unfortunately, I had once again thrown myself back into my schoolwork and put aside most of my social life.
My assignments stayed bright and positive, as I didn’t really let many people know about what I was going through. Those that did know didn’t know how badly I was hurting since I had fallen back on smiling for the camera, so to speak.
My personal photography, however, began to show my internal conflict in my opinion. It began to lean to more somber tones, portraying how I internally felt. It wasn’t until I got home and could morn with my parents that I felt better.
Once again, my mom was my rock and my dad the comedic relief. Other than a few close friends they were my constants during the month and a half before my next trip. During this time I tried to figure out how to better release everything I held inside of myself.
My dad encouraged me to get back into the physical activities such as soccer that I had been avoiding over the last two years because of some old soccer injuries. So I became an adrenaline junkie in Australia. I began white water rafting, playing soccer again, and even scuba diving. Suddenly my work got brighter and happier in my eyes.
Diving really helped me bounce back emotionally. When you’re underwater and alone with your thoughts, you realize there’s more out there in the world and by holding onto sadness and loss instead of learning from it, I was letting life pass me by.
That was something I had promised myself years ago during my mom’s experience with cancer to never do. My family had made to many sacrifices for me over the years for me to not take advantage of the world around me that they had provided for me.
So I graduated with my BA early and had to come up with an idea for this MA project. My family had always been a big influence in my life, and their encouragement lead me to my passion of sharks and education.
Diving’s influence on my outlook on my overall life had me wanting to share that passion. Getting my little cousins interested in diving while living with them before coming here cemented my desire to do something educational within their age group with a focus on sharks and or diving in general.
I must have done something right because I found myself back in Harrow after two years. Finally, I was going to culminate my experiences with travel and my family into a project of my own inspiration, combining my two passions, my family and diving.
I would not be the person I am today, let alone the artist without my family’s sacrifices and support. No matter the situation they have been there for me in one shape or form.
Their struggles and my high-anxiety reaction to them consisting of anxiety attacks, weight gain, and almost having an ulcer at the age of five, has taught me to take time in my life for the simple pleasures, such as delicious cake, or tea, and by taking the time to enjoy myself. By doing this I’ll be making not only myself happy, but my art as well.
This is how I discovered the wonderful artistic release one can get by dressing up as a zombie for Halloween. Ripping clothes and having a blood fight in order to semi-realistically gore oneself is just one of the ways I’ve learned to express myself not only as an individual, but as an artist. Thank you.