This Year… I Learned How to be an Artist

A girl looking into the reflection of the mirror from

AnnaBella McGinnis, Reporter

This year, like many others, my life was turned upside down. And while that is by no means a unique experience, it was a life changing one to me. In the last 365 plus days I was left with less then half my friends and barely any family to see.

In a whole year of isolation, I have come to learn that I would be my own company, which was both the best thing that could happen to me and my worst fear come true. Being left with nobody but myself gave me a year’s worth of time to reflect on my values. I was left with questions that have clouded my mind for the last two years. Questions about what makes me happy, what holds me back, who I am and who I love became prominent in my mind. But one stuck with me the most: What does it mean to be an artist?

This is the question that has left me stumped since my first day of attending this school. Being surrounded by some of the greatest artists in my county inspired me to become just as great. For so long, it seemed like everybody had the secret formula for greatness, and I did everything I could to achieve it. I used all the same literary devices as them, wrote about the same topics, presented myself as close as I could to these peers. However, progress in my work was slow and rough, and for the last two years I found myself discouraged by my rate of growth in comparison to those around me.

At first, I thought being in isolation would be more challenging for my writing; But as it would turn out, it was the exact opposite. Instead of comparing myself to everyone’s success I learned that I had to find my own, alone. Because I was left with little company other then myself, there was nobody else to compare myself to, and I found that I had more courage to be myself, even if it was by myself. I also found more inspiration to flourish as a writer and artist because I had finally found the space to shine. Being one of the only juniors of my major on my campus, many people looked to ask me about my art form and wanted my insight. When I was asked about how I feel about my art and how others can be involved, it sparked something in me. I wanted to be the best that I could be, especially now that all eyes were on me.

Life had handed me a mirror and I had to learn to fall in love with the reflection.

And when I did, my work spoke for itself. I found myself participating in my first performance this year, publishing more writing that I was proud of, and finding the confidence to submit to more competitions then I ever have. In my own small ways, I flourished. And as I graduate from my junior year and enter senior year, I feel that I have found what it means to be an artist. She is what I see in the mirror, and she is beautiful.