“This should be an easy task,” my teacher had said when he wrote the words of the final assignment onto the board. He stopped writing, placed the white board marker onto the shelf and moved to the side. In large block letters were the words, “Draw your spirit animal.” Despite his confidence, I found myself staring at the board completely lost. What single creature could describe my entire personality? This had to be perfect.
My spirit was like a roadmap to my soul, each detail of this spiritual animal had to shouting out, “This is me!” I failed to realize how difficult drawing my spirit animal would be, especially with all of the incredible evolutionary details in the animal kingdom. The challenge was on.
I began with the eyes. Serving as the windows to my soul, my eyes have seen a lot. They were a plain blue, but in their centers they held vast wisdom, lit up with unquenchable curiosity, and told of great adventures. I can recall a recent memory while hiking in the woods with my friends, an adventurous endeavour from the beginning, where we had to cross a wide stream. The water crashed alongside the slippery rocks, then toppled over the edge of a slab of granite and fell ten feet down into a deep rocky pool below. Needless to say, we were all a bit nervous to find our way across this daunting stream. To prevent arguing on who should cross first, I volunteered. Step by slippery step I began to figure out the best way to cross the stream. My eyes guided the way, finding the best places to stand and step. At long last, I finally made it across. Unfortunately, by the time I made it over, we noticed a small, wooden bridge no more than 40 feet away. Regardless, even the toughest paths to cross seem less daunting when you have a plan, and my eyes provided one (literally) every step of the way.
I followed with the body. Each curve fell like a gentle hill, connecting each part of the body into one being. The body, while small, held massive amounts of strength. The strength to bare the secrets of others as well as my own and the strength to admit defeat and start anew. Years of adaptation had allowed its skeleton to be fragile and light, but with every lesson, each bone hardens into something stronger. My childhood bully taunted me everyday for the games I would play and the opinions that I had. Her hurtful words would bring tears to my eyes, her fists would leave bruises on my arms, and the fact that it was always my fault in the end would leave me in a heap of depression and anger. After years of verbal and physical abuse, my emotional shell hardened enough to resist her cruel advances towards me and I became stronger from it. Eventually, I began to repel her words, I blocked her physical attacks, and I stood up for myself when it was all over. I no longer care about what others have to think or say about me because I know that I posses the strength to be myself.
At last, I added on the wings. Feather tips upturned towards the heavens, wings opened wide, grasping at as much space as they could. They held the air in an embrace, the feathers suspended in the blurs of light on the background of the page. The wings could take me to new heights, with no dream too far out of reach. The wings held the power to overcome obstacles and soar above rocky paths. They brought freedom.
The starry eyes, round and wide in curiosity, the small, powerful body, the feather-tipped wings caressing the softly colored background, and sharp ears hidden from view. Between the smudges of pencil and eraser shavings, an owl appeared. A symbol for the wise, the powerful, the free, and the observative. A perfect symbol for me.