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.


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.


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.


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.



American Stereotype MapWe utilize stereotypes to separate ourselves from others and dehumanize them. Stereotypes create groups in which nations, cultures, and people are categorized as the “good guys” or the “bad guys.” The power of stereotypes can further dissolve those statuses into groups such as “us” and “them.” There are no names involved, humanity is stripped of such dignities and degraded to categories.


Fat AmyA stereotype limits those who impose it on other people. It’s as if the stereotype-r wore a pair of glasses that only allowed them to see others as a label. Instead of being human, the marginalized are perceived as a word or category. From then on, Patricia isn’t Patricia; she’s Fat Amy. You no longer view an individual you’ve stereotyped as who they are, your view is warped.


Us vs ThemIt’s crazy, but stereotypes simultaneously unite and divide. The “us’s” label themselves and proudly wear it. “Us” brings individuals belonging to that group together while pushing “them” away. On a basic mental level, the “us’s” are united by their commonalities and separated from their morals. Yet to those belonging to the “us” side, morality and mankind are a small price to pay for the propagation of their commonalities. These similarities consume the human thought process until “us” and “them” are all that remains.


The Grand CanyonThe human thought process has three steps: thought, feeling, and action. Each action begins as a thought and every thought results in an action. Indoctrinated thoughts cannot be easily changed; therefore, feelings and actions are not easily altered. Overnight, a mental change is impossible; but rapid changes do not lead to improvement. Our thoughts (and the world) require dynamic changes. A purposeful and meaningful change occurs with great force and patience. A drastic change leads to a landslide that destroys everything in its path. A progressive change gradually chisels out the unnecessary in order to reveal the final product.  The Grand Canyon was not formed overnight; it was formed by the relentless force of water to carve it out. The same must be done to the barren plains of “us” and “them.”


TrumpmericaStereotypes are mental barriers that can transform into physical walls. The Trump Wall can’t be built purely on action; devices of separation are a concept of the mind that are released into the world. These boundaries are the consummation of a thought process that is infected with stereotypes.


But stereotypes aren’t just a belief or attitude that remains in the intangible world: they find a way to infiltrate our material lives. The seepage of unjust and cruel thoughts can translate into actions, speech, and legislation. The labels that others place on us are unnecessary burdens that no human should bear. (Unfortunately, we often form self-inflicted stereotypes.)

We are a diverse people with different pasts, stories, and circumstances. We are too different to deserve an overarching theme to our lives. There is a root reason as to why everyone does what they do. Our outward actions do not justify being placed in a demeaning category of existence that disregards our true selves.

Every person will receive a name based on factors outside of their control, but what if we focused on making uplifting categorizations? Describing someone by their accomplishments and contributions to the world is a much better use of language. Instead of dividing our world, nation, or community, what if we started caring about “them?”


WEIf we cared, “they” would become people. No longer would we define someone by their race or nationality. Then our feelings of animosity towards their culture would end. Finally, the walls could be taken down and the stereotypes would vanish with each brick that was torn from the walls.

Words are too powerful to be abused or serve as a source of abuse to those hastily defined by them.

How the Average American Sees the World Map

Pitch Perfect Poster

Us Versus Them Venn Diagram

Grand Canyon Photograph

Trumperica Rendition

Us Versus Them to We Photograph

Life’s Black Boxes

black boxI want most of my thoughts to be little black boxes that can be lost in the ocean. My mind, a homing beacon, can locate each one if I please, but for now they’re gone. Left for the currents and critters to act on them without restraint. Maybe when one washes up on the shore, I’ll be ready.

But for now, there’s a few being tossed around in the Northern Atlantic. Several have been frozen in an Antarctic ice shelf. A couple might be hidden in the crevasses of Challenger Deep. There are a few that I can’t decide if they’re in the ocean of my mind or my heart.

I know of another level of concealment that is more violent. A large mix of memories are tossed in the ocean while the remainder are swirled around in a whirlpool. Sometimes the vortex momentarily spits one or two out. I do not know if it is because they are too powerful or if their time has come. Those in the ocean creep onto the shore and haunt, but those in the whirlpool attack like a vicious shark.

No matter how hard I try, the tide lulls them in and the boxes surface. Days come along that spew a black box or two onto the shore. The presence of those horrendous reminders revs up the whirlpool’s assault. Just like the lurking black boxes, vulnerability can’t be avoided. The water rejects some memories and a tempest rages until those boxes are sacrificed to the surface.

Vulnerability isn’t so much a question of when, but of what the water will bring back. The black boxes are always in the shadows, and you can’t see them until they’re resting at your toes.
vulnerability-is-our-most-accurate-measurement-of-courageWe aren’t judged by what surfaces, but how we react to them. Avoiding the past festers within you. Opening the black box, accepting the data feedback, learning from it, and moving on is the only way to conquer the relentless sea of life.


Brene Brown Quote

Considering The Magnificent

Magnificence Through My Eyes

What makes something magnificent? What makes a thing so fantastic that it isn’t confined to what it is? It’s description doesn’t stop at just a definition; it’s qualified as something greater than it’s purpose.

But what makes something exceed the limits of what it was made for? When does ordinary become extraordinary and then develop into something even greater?

Does the magnificent creation describe the attributes of its creator? Does the magnificent creation describe the things that can be created from it?

Our language has thousands of adjectives, and this could be applied to any of them. A word isn’t just defined by a dictionary; it is defined by the implications that it has. A word is so much greater than its meaning, connotation, or the sum of its letters.



The Dream Tower

DreamingWhy do we have such an affinity for dreams? Our mind and heart collaborate to create them. We build these magnificent skyscrapers of “what ifs…” and “I can’t wait to’s…” only to restrain them as mental blueprints.

How many of our skyscrapers were killed the second the drafting process began? How many were never allowed to leave the planning phase? I wonder how many towers had their foundation laid out before motivational and innovational funding ran out.


We promise ourselves too much and become angry at ourselves when we fall short. We lose interest in the things we love because of life. We blame our age, stress, sports, chores, work…the list of excuses goes on and on (like Celine Dion’s heart). We stare longingly at the blueprints while waiting to have the resources to realize them. We just keep idly staring. We fall into the trap of believing that allowing our life to stay on its current course will allow the future to open up opportunity.


Dream CityWe’re so passive with the things that should require us to be the most active. We watch as the dreams we should have taken by the horns and claimed victory over trample us with regret. Our city of dreams fades into a desolate ghost town.


businessman hold sledgehammer cracking big hole discovered natural skyWe just have to start our renovation. The scariest part is always the first brick or swing of the sledge hammer. Revise your blueprints, choose where to start, and pick up the hammer.





Dreaming Picture

City Picture

Blueprint Picture

Sledge Hammer Picture

A Hidden Symptom

Shame is a tricky, abstract thing. It’s like a pain tolerance, almost everyone has it to some degree. But for some, shame is intertwined with pain.

Those who suffer from unseen and misunderstood diseases face the shame of cooping with their symptoms in front of an oblivious audience. Society has made astounding advances in sympathetic medical care when it come to conditions that are clearly visible and widely understood; however, these advancements have not fully progressed to rare and hidden diseases.

Anyone who manages an internal condition or a form of chronic pain has experienced the shame that their health brings.

CRPSBefore my Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) went into remission, every day was a battle. I fought the pain, struggled to get through each day, and yearned for others to understand my predicament. I attempted to conceal the special leggins and TENS unit I wore to try to reduce the pain. Every time that I had to explain why I left class early or had a TENS clipped to my belt, I was overcome by a tidal wave of shame. Why couldn’t I be like them? Why does my body hate me? Why do they judge me? Why can’t I have a normal high school experience? And the questions kept crashing onto the shores of my mind.
Chronic Pain Wants...Every trip to Riley left me questioning my pain tolerance and if I was justified in asking my parents to get the pain to stop. Every medical test left me wondering how much more/longer I had to endure before I had answers. Every time I had to look up into my parents’ depressed eyes left me feeling guilty for hurting them.

I was trapped in a whirlpool of pain and shame. I was stuck between getting through every day as I needed and meeting everyone else’s expectations. Because no one could see my pain, they only saw a girl who left class early, wore leggins under her jeans, had a small box under her shirt, and wouldn’t let anyone get near her knee. I didn’t want pity, I just wanted others to understand.

No one should be shamed for the things gone unseen. Thankfully, mental illnesses have recently flourished into an open topic. This progress shows promise for the victims of invisible captors, but society cannot leave anyone behind in their shame. The pain is enough to bear without hurricanes of shame and guilt that they to batten down for.



The Chronic Pain Scale


Stressed Out

American teenagers are too stressed. One of my friends has been intensly studying for an APUSH test (while frequently dry heaving). She believes that failure (defined by today’s standards of anything less than a B-) will result in rejection letters when she applies for college. With the all or nothing mind frame that has been instilled in pupils, it is no wonder that teenagers are the most stressed age group in the nation. Teen stress stems from high academic standards and upcoming life changes. School is the main culprit of teens’ worries, but it could serve as the solution.

Educational institutions owe it to the students to contribute to the solution of teen stress. Students would benefit from a study hall period for meditation only. Giving students a period to relax and take their mind off of life’s demands could set apart a bit of time to be stress free. Education could improve students’ mental state while increasing their mental capacity. Maybe then students can stop feeling like they’re part of a Pink Floyd music video.

But then again, what do I know? I’m just one of the 41,844,000 attempting to cope with the demands of the educational system.

Stressed Out Music Video Photograph