The Mirror

Handheld MirrorThe face in the mirror was not entirely my own. Its shape and features were familiar, yet it was not in the same state as the night before. I studied my face and searched intently for the differences. My eyes, the only alteration, had lost the life that defined them.

The reflection of my face vanished from the mirror. My visage did not reappear as my physical features but as the embodiment of my inner demons. Savage beasts roamed on the glassy surface. Each creature had been christened with a hellish burn that marked its merciless nature. Vanity, Depression, Fear, Hopelessness, Abuse, Worthlessness, Hate, and Doubt reigned over me.

The creatures fought against the mirror that contained them. I trembled as their claws scratched the fragile barrier. With each vicious swipe, a searing cut was carved into my heart. Spidery cracks fractured and shattered the glass. The force of the mirror’s destruction tossed me to the ground. The leviathans escaped and turned into monsters whose forms were in proportion to the terror they imposed.

Unleashed, the creatures roamed freely and imprisoned me. No movement or thought wholly belonged to me. I wrestled with the hellions as I prepared for my day. But for each of my tasks, there was a behemoth to dictate my actions. If a creature devoted to leading me astray did not exist, one would appear and establish its dominion.

During a momentary reprieve, I began to repair the mirror. Each fragment tore at my hands, but I continued to place the shards in the frame. I positioned the last slice and prayed that the demons would return to their captive state.

Suddenly, the brutes shrieked, growled, and groaned. As each demon reappeared in the mirror, I experienced a pain tenfold worse than when they escaped. Being by being, they tumultuously returned. The agony that accompanied the demons was in proportion to their size and grasp upon my heart. I could not bear the pain from Doubt, the largest of the beasts, returning to captivity.

My knees buckled, and I awoke, drenched in sweat. I cowered as I hesitantly hobbled to my vanity and peered into that dreaded mirror. My countenance had returned to normal, save for my eyes. The life had abandoned them.

Would I be able to contain my demons or would their terrorization become evident to those I loved? I resolved to tame the beasts within to delay my tribulation.

I proceeded to my door and allowed one last glance at the mirror. Doubt haughtily danced within the windows to my soul. As I shuffled into the kitchen, I wondered if anyone would be able to see what was restrained just beyond the surface.

I maintained my outward appearance so that my inward being could be concealed. I prayed nightly that no one would discover the reflection I saw in the mirror. I feared for love as if the only love available to me was conditional.

Every mirror I looked into reflected a broken and shattered girl. The leviathans of my nightmares did not reveal themselves in material form; they overcame me, and I became them. Soon the mirror only reminded me of the true self that I had prevented others from catching even the slightest glance of.

Mirror Photograph

A Duck Limerick 

Hannah is a funny gal

She has a duck named Mal

He went on a plane ride

And he sadly died

So she got a duck named Sal

That little gem is unedited and straight out of my Mother’s Day writing book from fifth grade.

Although my drawing abilities plateaued in 2nd grade, I am constantly developing my writing. It’s important to keep your old work, regardless of its degree of weirdness or level of embarrassment. Steady improvement is just as important as reflection. You can’t judge your current level of proficiency without considering what you’ve improved from and the level you aspire to attain.

In addition to giving you the opportunity to appreciate your progress, old works allow you to reexamine your past through wiser eyes. Your past writing reveals your mental state and life events at the time you created the work.

The knowledge that is gained from your old, embarrassing pieces is just as important as the memories behind them.

Creativity

Inspiration is a build-up. It has no clear start. In its true form, it has no end. It’s a cycle that requires a lifetime to create and nurture. It cannot be easily faked or forced. Forced creativity is just as bad as self-limited creativity.

Thankfully, not all creativity is equal. Some of us are given brushes while others are given words. Those whose hands were meant to write, tend to criticize their painted creations with Frankensteinian contempt. Their hands are meant to express what the tongue speaks, not what the eyes imagine.

Within the vast land of creativity, there are degrees of creativity. Not every painter was meant to bring the Mona Lisa or The Scream to life. Some are da Vinci or Edvard Munch, but we all have a statement that can be made through art.

That’s all art should be: your emotionalized statement.

It should convey some message in an unassuming form. This is why individuals with a keen eye will analyze works for hours at a time. They want to discover the artists’ purpose in the art. An artist is their work.

That’s the beauty of art. It’s not defined by what it is, but by what can be done with it.

Things To Do With Your Creativity:

I am a visual learner. These are visual representations that can be transformed into any art form.

Add:

Give your art medium a special piece of you that expresses one of your loves through a passion. Find something that has already resonated with you and give it your spin. Weird Al has made a living off of this and if he could do it, so can you.

Connect:

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Drawing by John Neathery

This piece was make by meticulously placing thousands of dots. On their own they were insignificant. Together, they create this stunning image. Art is simultaneously divisible and indivisible. It takes brushstrokes, words, notes… to create a full piece.

Disconnect:

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Photo by Courtney Clark

Take something and just blow it up (figuratively or literally, both are art in my world). Art doesn’t have to make sense. It’s open for interpretation. If art made perfect sense, then no one would go to concerts or pay for someone else’s ideas on paper. The best reflection of our lives, beliefs, emotions-humanity-tends to be a beautiful, jumbled mess.

I wish I could claim these works as my own, but as I stated earlier, my medium is not in the expression of eyes.

Author’s Note: I’m proud to say that these pieces came from my high school art show, which featured art from all grade levels.

Shelf Lives

Hot ItemThe store was eerily quiet. Each shopper walked in and was immediately given a sticker. Mine claimed that I was on clearance, even though my expiration date was lost in the distant future. I watched as smaller, thinner, better girls proudly strutted their “hot item” badges. Some elderly shoppers had “expired” tags; society was done with them.

I as I strolled past shelves of canned good and clothing racks, I saw a plethora of labels. I became envious of the little black dresses, that like those tiny women, were “hot items.” I sympathized with last year’s plush toys who had already been marked down to clearance.

Then there were the goods that were neither hot or clearance. Those things just sat there, they didn’t stand out because they hadn’t been judged yet. These items blended in with each other and wouldn’t be announced to the world until they were fashionable or out of season. I felt their unassuming nature draw me in. I wanted be unmarked and free of judgement. But I never would be, I was clearance and marked as such until my last breath.

I went in and out of the store without a flirtatious glance or wink. I was clearance material, only good for others deemed so.

 

Hot Item Image

Living Martyr

Although I did not direct this at myself, these are my emotions. This is me. One of my best friends passed away this year. Reaching out to those who are hurting was one of her passions (there really aren’t words to describe how fiercely her fire burned). I started writing this before she passed and waited. I attempted to make it perfect. I waited too long. I prioritized how I felt and never shared it.

I am a perfectionist and I let perfection get in the way of being human.  I want to create something and revise it until it is perfect because I don’t want others to see my imperfections. I want to hide my flaws and keep others from seeing the cracks that reveal themselves in my work.

I need to stop. I am constantly trying to make myself better and learn new things, but imperfection is the only way to improve and learn. This is imperfect. I am imperfect. And that is okay.

The Real Story

The Real StoryAs The Fault in Our Stars notes, we all have our own unique story. Our stories are defined by a mixture of challenges and victories: illnesses, the loss of a loved one, moving, winning the championship game, or graduating.

Whatever your story is, those defining stories are small instances through which your view of life changed. We remember these moments the most, even if they happened in a split second. Without these memories it’s likely that we would not be the people we are today.

These stories are us and they aren’t us; it’s how you approach them that matters. Our challenges and victories aren’t us; we are what we got out of them. We have to define our moments.

The Fault in Our Stars Picture

I Wandered

The home of poet William Wordsworth. I’m jealous of the valleys and lakes that these windows peer out over.

I might not be lonely as a cloud, but I got to wander. In the midst of it all you lose yourself. You get to walk in others’ footsteps; you start to see where their inspirations came from. You hear the floorboards squeak under your step and listen to the soft meow of a content cat. You know that these sounds, the sounds of the present, are also the sounds of the past.

As my feet wandered, my heart ventured further until I was there and my thoughts could not be mapped.