Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

Guest Post: There's Only One You

Ms. Jenna Z., my cousin's daughter and, gulp, one of my flower girls, is graduating from high school this year.


Growing up, Jen wasn't having any of that kids' table bullshit. She was much more interested in what was going on with the adults.

And it shows.

She's one deep cat.

Now that I've sufficiently embarrassed her, this is how she wrote her way into college, Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she hopes to study public relations, then eventually work for Disney.

They'd be lucky to have her:

When I think of an artist or work of art that has impacted my life, the one artist who flashes into my mind is Vincent van Gogh.

I remember the day we watched the film in seventh grade art class.  I was sitting at my paint stained table staring at the blank screen. When my art teacher said, "Today we are watching a movie on Vincent van Gogh."

He popped in the disk and pressed play. We all sat on our art stools staring at the screen, as the film unfolded his life. The students in the class laughed when he began going insane. They giggled at the thought of him sending half of his ear to his one, true love.

Then there was me; I sat there feeling sorry for him, wishing I were able to tell him how influential his work will be in the future.

Once the movie was over, our teacher asked us our thoughts regarding him. There was a girl in my grade who sat at my table, her hand shot up and she whined, "I think he was weird. Like he cut off his own ear. You don’t do that. No one liked him because he was weird."

My teacher said, "Well, I guessed some of you would think that."

Then, I looked at him and nervously said, "I just really wish I could have seen the world through his eyes. I wish I could see the night sky the way he did, the flowers, everything."

I saw his eyes glow as he stated, "That’s exactly what I wished I was able to do. I’m glad you understand."

To this day this conversation runs through my mind so clearly. This was the first time I had ever really fell in love with an artist's work. It made me understand that no matter how hard I try; I will never be like everyone else. 

Sometimes, I stare at A Starry Night and watch as the colors swirled together to form the night sky; colors that the average person would not think were in the sky as boldly as he showed them. They all swirled together to form the notion of wind swirling though the lands, the stars glowing brightly off the canvas. I had never seen a painting like that. 

The colors were not fully blended together and somehow, to me, this told more of a story than a normal painting. I decided that I too, could paint what I want. It seems to me that the oddest things have the strongest impact. So I began to paint. When I felt lonely or down, painting always made me feel better. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of how beautiful the world is. 

I always take the time to look at the sky now, just to look at all the colors that swirl around, because of Vincent van Gogh, I am able to appreciate the things around me and see their beauty.