On the pursuit of Happiness

There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth

– Friedrich Nietzsche

When I was in the first grade I became best friends with another little girl in my class. As we became more acquainted riding the bus home together, she started to confide in me about things I didn’t understand. We were 6 years old when she told me her uncle used to touch her. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I told her she should tell her mom because my mom had always told me no one is supposed to touch you.

This was the first time I had unconsciously helped someone. A couple days later, her mom called my mom and told her what happened and asked if she could thank me. The conversation is just fragments in my mind now, but I remember her crying and telling me thank you. That uncle was going to jail because I was a good friend to her daughter.

As I grew up, I realized how much it meant to me to be a good listener and a voice of reason to people who’d talk to me about their lives.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time I would experience a milestone.

When I was 11 years old, my dad died in car accident. It was the middle of the night and he was on his way back from San Diego. He fell asleep at the wheel and died instantly.

In retrospect, I feel like this was a defining moment of where my life was headed. The pain I felt inside was too strong. My outlet had always been art, and now it was one of the only things that made me happy.

The last encounter I want to share with the world is a really touchy one. My first “real” relationship and being raped. I trusted a guy who “cared about me” and after a couple months of dating, he took advantage of my trust in him and had his way with me one night. No one was home, there was no one to talk to and he told me repeatedly, that this is what I wanted, even after yelling No so much. I was 16, super insecure,  and depressed.

I won’t share my every experience: Especially with depression. Not yet anyway. I don’t want to dwell on it all because it leaves room for the sadness to creep in again, and I will not be a sad person. Yes, we all have our bad days and our good days, but learning to conquer them is part of the healing process we go through on a daily basis.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m sharing such personal information with potential strangers. The answer to that question really goes back to wanting to free myself from anything that might be built up inside. We are all made up of our mistakes, our tragedies, our experiences, our achievements, our gains and losses. I’m not the first person to suffer and I won’t be the last one either. I’ve learned throughout my life that art is an outlet, and continues to be an outlet for a lot of individuals. Art has saved me more times than I can remember, and it’s in these creative outlets I find myself teaching others what I know.

I’m sharing all these things because I know what tragedy feels like, I know what loss is, and yet still finding a way to be happy has got to be priority. It’s important to remember that. To remember how far you’ve come and not dwell on every bad thing that have happened to you.

I’m letting everyone in to my life, to possibly encourage those who have walked down similar roads to open up and start the journey to happiness. My happiness has always rotated around art; it’s what has saved me again and again. So I encourage others to join me in finding a creative outlet. Art will save us all.

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