Everyone told me that I was going to go through the process of finding myself once I headed off to college. I nodded and secretly thought “but I already know who I am”. As I headed off to Eastern Michigan University for the first time, I was stuck in this mold of who I was and wanted to be as a senior in high school. I rebelled a got a nose piercing which was one of the first steps of me finding myself. Through my first semester at school, I truly felt like I was myself. I had settled into my sexual identity and was confident with that part of myself. I was studying psychology and art which made me feel like I was on the path to doing something great with my life. I was independent and dyed my hair purple. But as the year moved on, my mental health only got worse. Struggling primarily with depression in high school, I never got that under control before moving 3 hours away from home. I went to CAPS (counselling and psychological services) on campus and did what I could to help myself. At the end of my first year, I was in a terrible mental place and somehow lost the person that I thought I found my first semester. Whether I believed it at the time or not, I wasn’t who I wanted to be. Going home for the summer, I decided that things needed to change. I wanted to be healthy again, mentally and physically, and I wanted to be confident in who I was. I took it upon myself to see a therapist, start medications, and accept that I needed help with my anxiety, depression, and OCD. Coming back to school in September, I was finally happy, healthy, and excited to further grow and expand on who I am. I am finally allowing myself to come out and quit hiding who I am for one person or another. My artwork is reflective of who I am, and what I believe and it’s taken me a long time to realize that that’s what makes me a successful artist. It’s not about how “good” your work is, it’s about the amount of passion you put into your artwork. Now, I am an advocate for mental health and I will gladly talk about my own struggles. I am proud of who I am and will tell anyone who asks that I am a queer studies minor and identify as a demisexual lesbian. I am an artist and I will no longer try to create work to please others, but rather, I will create work that pleases me. I know my journey is not over and I will continue to settle into who I am but right now, I am above and beyond proud of how far I’ve come. As a painter, I enjoy letting my paintbrush and emotions lead me in abstract works. As a writer, I enjoy using words with poetry and narrative to express my emotions. As a photographer, I use film to focus on detail and portraits and digital to focus on details in ways other people don’t necessarily see. As an artist, I am emotional with my works because emotion fuels my passion. As a person, I am finally me.