Realizing Gratitude

During the past few weeks, the advisors, Jen, Pam, and Kelsey, have all talked about how we can make gratitude a global entity and not just a PFO core value. Last week, the gratitude I received changed the way I saw myself. Let me backtrack and help you out by setting the stage:

For those of you who don’t know, I have studied jewelry design and metalsmithing since I was about 15 years old; it has my heart. I held a workshop last week where a couple of teens came in to learn basic metals skills, such as cutting, filing, and soldering. I tried to get through as much info as I could with them in our short time, but there are so many great possibilities in metals and I probably overwhelmed the girls, or so I thought.

Our Advisor Meeting last week was all about how to create our belief in Gratitude into a tangible object to share with others. One possibility is to create the gratitude symbol out of silver, and at that moment I was sold. Jen told our whole group about what I taught the teens and she said through the pictures Jim sent her during my demos, she saw how my face lit up like she had never seen before. She shared that with everyone and it hit me like a ton of bricks. For some reason, that compliment overtook me with gratitude and I started to cry. I had no idea why I started to cry and I was slightly embarrassed.

When I got home, I started to think more and more about why it struck me as such as a surprise. Jen had given me gratitude by saying that my face lit up because I was in my passion. I had never truly thought of it before and it sounds so silly. My passion is art. I had never formed that sentence until now. Crazy, right? I express myself through it every day, yet I had taken my love of it for granted. And I realize why I had in the past.

While going to college, I was in a relationship where I was so worried about being perfect, being the best, that I put my true self on the back burner. After it ended, I was left a shell of an empty being because I hadn’t tried to figure out who I was going to be and why. Over the past 3 years, art has been my outlet where I can see who I am and who I am to become. I was like a toddler; I felt like I was 2 years old, learning to form words and thoughts of my own. I honestly was. But I had no other choice. Art and creativity are, in my opinion,one of the only forms of self-expression no one can ever take away from us. Look at Ai WeiWei: a contemporary Chinese artist who even the Chinese government cannot silence. His outlet is art. My outlet is art. It’s what I crave; that self-expression not only shows the world your voice, but it most importantly tells yourself who you are.

That comment Jen Band made made me realize that I could look at my life differently. All she had to say was “”passion”” and it turned on like a light; I am here because my art lets me be.

For that Jen, the most amount of gratitude needs to go to you. Your small comment will never be thought of as small, but as a pillar where my being stands. Thank you Jen.