Art as a Rite of Passage.

Recently I have come to see the art world in a whole different light. Instead of it being a mere hobby, I now see it as sort of meditating tool. I have found myself painting to calm my racing thoughts and emotions. A way to analyze my role in this world. A way to dissect and decipher my life.

Matter of fact, art now felt as a rite of passage.

I figured out that puberty, becoming of legal age or even becoming a parent, is not what makes us an adult. It is that point in time when we finally stop caring about the views and opinions of others to define us and we begin to understand that there is more to life than an esteemed 9 to 5, a large house and what trend is now considered fashionable. We start caring about who WE are as a person and what role we play in life.

As I realized this about myself, I noted that I am not the only woman in my family that chooses the arts as an outlet in troubled times.

I thought of my grandmother when she was 38 and decided that after taking care of her home, husband and 3 children, she was going back to school to become a florist. Soon after, she went to become a seamstress and since then I became accustomed to a parade of women and young girls coming in and out the house to get an array of school uniforms, quinceañera and wedding gowns made.

Then my mother, after countless of late nights to finish her schooling in computers and a decade and a half working for well known companies, she finds pleasure in creating art journals and whimsy watercolors. I will note that after doing so she seems more grounded, more attuned with not only herself but the family .

So now I find myself, 32 years old, and completely immersing myself into my visual arts after being away from it for SO long. You see I was ALWAYS involved in some sort of literary, visual or performing arts and recently let go of the dance studio I had so feverishly worked for for years. I had become fatigued with trying to nourish a project that depended so much on the wants and needs of EVERYONE else. On the other hand painting SOOTHED me. It placed me in a much welcomed and calming trance.

Not only did art become a therapeutic tool for me, as I looked for things to paint, it forced me to think about my life. Where I’ve been and where I plan to go. What world issues and concerns mattered to me the most. Inspired me to learn about my island’s culture and history and It even made me nostalgic about when home was The Bronx.

I will say that six months, seven paintings and a multitude of sketches later I am more at peace now than I have felt in a very long time. I am now more aware of where I stand in certain matters and I am DEFINITELY less concerned about what everyone else thinks and feels of me or my choices in life.

I may not be exactly where I want to be yet, but I know for sure that I am on the right path.

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