Expression is everything. A person is who he is because he expresses himself to be that way. Without expression, thoughts would remain with their owners, ideas would never leave their creators’ minds, inventions would cease to be created, and art would not exist. Language would serve no purpose and would, therefore, become extinct. Without expression, people would be forced into isolation, unable to retrieve or accept information, feelings, or ideas from another person.

I view expression as an important necessity to life, yet am unable to easily express myself around others. Not a social person, I tend to remain passive. Pulling a jacket around myself, I find shelter, warm and safe, and retreat within myself. My voice remains a respectful hush. I am an introverted person, humble, soft-spoken, and shy, and become uncomfortable when speaking to others or trying to convey myself. Although I am a determined and hard-working person who always meets her deadlines, keeps up with her schedule, and takes pride in all that she does, I find it difficult to speak up and express myself.

An Air Force kid all my life, I have grown used to moving frequently and saying goodbye to my friends, school, and home. Because my mother has been a member of the United States Air Force my entire life, I am familiar with military procedures and constantly live as if there is uncertainty in my future. I am comfortable giving goodbyes to loved ones, wondering when I’ll ever see someone again, and shedding tears at an airport. Each year I must meet new friends only to leave the next year and while my sense of adventure brings optimism to each move, my sensitive side dwells on the loss of friends. Relationships of mine have broken and ended because of my situation, friends unable and unwilling to keep in contact. My grades do not correctly transfer when I move, affecting my class rank, classes I have taken are not accepted in different states, friends are left behind, items are lost, and I can never truly plan for the future because I never know what’s going to happen next. I learn to live on my toes and expect the unexpected. Because of the Air Force, I have seen a variety of places, and faced different climates growing comfortable right up against the Canadian border and the Mexican. Problems and burdens bear down on me, and affect my life, molding me into who I am today.

Emotional and reserved by nature, I tend to dwell on life events and let emotions and feelings overwhelm me. With so many responsibilities to worry about, deadlines to meet, assignments to complete, goals to achieve, and instabilities to deal with, a need for expression comes about. Unable to express myself with my voice, I take advantage of the fine arts.

Practicing the C flute for seven years, I have participated in six different band programs, currently an active member of the William Howard Taft Raider Band. Amazed by the beauty of the instrument, I had always dreamed of playing the flute as a young girl, and finally signed up for band in my sixth grade year, taking a summer band course afterwards. Through the metal of my instrument, I am able to create harmonious music that draws in listeners and captivates audiences and can release stress and emotions, reflecting sadness, joy, and mystery through the notes that flow from my breath. Never leaving this passion behind when I relocate, I have appeared in one band program after the other until arriving at William Howard Taft High School. Forced to move my junior year of high school because of my mother’s occupation, I was introduced to a new and foreign band program after arriving. I had never seen a band that partook in marching band competitions and had never learned how to march on a football field. Because of my circumstances, I was automatically placed without an audition and was taught to run the band’s electrical equipment. Shortly afterwards I became the band’s most useful Sound Crew member and offered to participate in any way, finding myself working on Sound Crew through the fall marching season, playing in the spring and winter concerts, volunteering to work the Sound Crew for Winter Drumline, and marching in the spring fiesta parade. After a year of observing the band march in competition, I was finally awarded a spot on the field and learned how to march my senior year, taking part in my first and last marching band show. Through choreographed footwork, complicated fingerings, and technical wiring, I was able to find expression through music.

Although unable to portray ideas through speech easily, I find ease through the written word. Always aspiring to become a creative writer, I began writing stories before I entered elementary school and have won writing contests over the years. I have taken pride in all of my essays and have enjoyed all of my English classes thankful for the improvement I have gained from each one. The most helpful contribution was from my Magic Pens writing club, however. My freshman year of high school, I was intrigued to find an advertisement for a writing club called Magic Pens on the school wall and immediately attended the first meeting and signed up. Given a password-protected Internet blog by the school, I was free to write whatever I pleased. Voted Vice-President of the club because I was a new student and wasn’t well known, I soon began recording every meeting, typing up meeting overviews, creating tutorials, and helping other members edit and design their blogs. Each day I devoted time to writing and completed many short stories. When stress weighed me down, I was able to release through writing and obtain an abundance of helpful and encouraging comments. When writing to an unknown target, barriers come down allowing the mind to flow seamlessly. I was soon known as the most avid reader and writer and the most active member of the club and became the President the following year, although I had been the only officer participating my freshman year. The club developed and improved allowing all of the members to come together and publish a book at the end of the school year. Available for purchase on-line, “Type a Little Faster Volume 2: 2006-2007” began appearing on bookshelves, even finding a home at my school’s libraries. Magic Pens even gained publicity by airing on the news station. By participating in Magic Pens, I was able to vent, create, imagine, and write, reaching my fellow members, my friends and family, my neighbors, and even those around the nation. Sadly the Air Force drew me away from my successful writing club, taking me to a different school, but eager to write, I joined the UIL Ready Writing team and began competing and winning in even more writing competitions. No matter where I go, I will always find a way to express myself through written words.

Although a widely misunderstood form of expression, art became another outlet allowing me to speak to the world. Taking as many art classes as my schedule allowed and joining two different art clubs, voted the Head President of one, I developed my artistic talents and learned how to display my own thoughts in my artwork. After moving to a different high school, I was challenged to draw a self-portrait that showed who I was and delivered a message. Successfully distorting my features to show isolation, unease, and insecurity, Insecure Memories won perfect scores and ribbons and advanced to the state level. Through the Battle of the Flowers Cover Contest, I was able to illustrate my Texan pride and won second place out of six hundred and sixty five entries, expressing my love for the state through the state bird, the state flower, and the recognizable icon, The Tower of Americas. In another art contest, my picture, Take the Right Shot, showing a red fox framed in a Polaroid, won a ribbon and was chosen to decorate the Austin Capitol Building and tour the state for a year, delivering my message for animal rights and conservation to many viewers. It is with my artistic talent that I have found my passion and my voice. From the tips of my Prismacolors, my paintbrushes, my pencils, and my pastels come messages from my heart, hidden in colors and lines. Through my art, heads turn, feet pause, and all eyes are on me granting me the chance to show myself, say my part, and reach out to the world.

Even though I may not be a social person and may be unable to openly discuss my thoughts, ideas, or beliefs, I have found other mediums to express myself. I have thrust myself into the world in different forms enabling others to hear my interpretations, read my thoughts, and view my personal messages. Multi-talented, I find ways to deal with the problems and stress the military, school, and life bestow upon me. Through fine art I vent, I escape, and I relinquish my heart and soul, my passion and mind, and invite others to discover who I truly am.

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