Art is my stress reliever, my Zen

January 19, 2009
By Zafiro Joseph, Culver, IN

Click. Click. Click. The sound the mouse makes as I take a timed concentration test. Click. Click. Click. The sound shatters my thoughts as I stare at my computer screen looking for the blue and red squares with blood shot eyes. It was the beginning of the 6th hour of testing couldn’t take it anymore! I wonder if you can change the clicking sound to a bark or a quack. What would it be like if every time you right clicked on the mouse, it would be a different sound? “Dang it!” I just missed four blue boxes.
During my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with ADHD. The test took about seven hours and was filled with a lot of little tests on memory and repetition. I felt like a mouse in a test lab, each test was so small and miniscule. I felt as if I were uneducated because my 9 year old cousin could do these tests. At the end of the test, the doctor prescribed Ritalin AD for my condition. I didn’t enjoy the thought of being medicated and feeling sad and miserable and depressed and unhappy and dismal.
Being diagnosed was supposed to force me to be interested in school which would hopefully allow me to get better grades in my classes. Ever since kindergarten I was never interested in academics. I wasn’t the student who would raise their hand to answer every question asked, or be the class spelling bee winner. I was the student who enjoyed being creative and getting her hands dirty. Ever since I can remember, my favorite part of school was anything dealing with art and using my imagination, whether it was making animal figures with play dough in first grade, practicing cursive writing in third grade or arts and crafts for each holiday that occurred throughout each year in elementary school. Art was always my thing.
Art is my stress reliever, my Zen. I’m at peace when I put on my paint stained smock and sit down in front of an unfinished mural with a pallet in one hand and a brush in the other, mixing the paint “Swish, Swish, Swish” are the sounds it makes as I apply horizontal and vertical brush strokes to masterpiece. I can forget about what is going on around me and enter my imaginary world of bright colors, a place where I can let my mind sore with ideas and express myself through figures and forms and shapes silhouettes and shadows. All that matters is using my creativity, being keeping an open mind.
What I have learned from the experience of being diagnosed is that, you can not force children to be interested in something they don’t like. I feel each student needs to realize what is important in their life for themselves so they will have self motivation to excel. When you pressure someone on something they don’t care about, it will only push them farther away. My art work is a resemblance of struggle, emotion, motivation, passion, incentive. Throughout my life I have gone through academic hardships and I strive to perfect my artistic ability by taking several art classes in order to improve my skills. I am my biggest critic; I make every effort to balance my compositions so they are appealing to the eye and use contrasting colors that capture the tones and shadows in objects. My work illustrates how I overcome my weaknesses and a continuation in my strengths to continue to be a successful artist.

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