by Breanna Adamick
One great thing about humanity that can sometimes be forgotten or overlooked is each person’s absolute uniqueness. No two people are exactly the same, inside and out, and that variety and those differences are part of what can make life so interesting and beautiful.
You can meet people who are vastly different than you are, who you feel you simply have nothing in common with, but then you will meet other people who you are almost scarily similar to – or at least have quite a bit in common with. Through everything, however, there will always be something you have or do that is perfectly unique to you. An exciting part of life can be discovering more about yourself and your own unique form of self-expression through different aspects of your thoughts, feelings, views and more.
In this instance, what I mean by self-expression refers to a deeper insight to who you are as a person. One could make the point that just about anything we do or say could be an expression of ourselves, our nature, our personality. Surface-level expression like that is good, but not what I am referring to in this case.
Finding some activity that you enjoy, outside of your usual activities, could reveal another aspect of yourself. Using myself as an example, one could say that me playing volleyball – my favorite sport that I have continued to play even after high school – is a form of self-expression, because it is displaying a side of me that is very pertinent to who I am as a person.
My writing, however – writing poetry and stories – is something I would consider to be a much deeper form of self-expression, and the type that I am talking about here, because it reveals a part of me that is not distinctly apparent when I merely converse with people or go about daily life. Of course, not all of self-expression has to be that introspective – but what I am referencing here, and what I think is particularly valuable, is this type of self-expression that provides a better insight to who we all are as people.
In getting to know myself a bit deeper over the last several years, I have come to realize that a large part of my own self-expression comes from artistic endeavors. I have a very big creative side to me, so expressing that side in a fun, artsy way can always bring me joy. Depending on how I feel in a given moment, I may focus my energy on creating jewelry from different media, creating simple drawings or paintings or else writing some sort of fiction or poetry.
Each is a rather different sort of creativity, but each can fulfill a different aspect of who I am and provide me with enjoyment. I believe it is important for everyone to have or find some form of self-expression, beyond perhaps just everyday interaction and activities.
I use art as an example of self-expression, in part, because it is a primary way I express myself. Also, because I have several friends who use art in this way as well – some of whom I have met here at Greensboro College. One such person, senior art major Sasha Cline, also uses various forms of art as a means of self-expression.
“Throughout my whole life, I have painted certain things just so I can get out of my system any bad feelings I am experiencing, but that I do not know how to express verbally. And also with artwork, someone cannot tell you “you are wrong,” because that is my work – my work cannot be wrong. That is how I felt at the time, and it is what it is.”
Cline went on to list some of her favorite mediums to work in, stating, “My problem is I love so many different mediums.” She added, however, that the mediums she tends to gravitate towards when feeling deeply are painting and encaustics – a form of painting which involves heated, colorful wax then applied to various surfaces, most commonly wood.
Cline agreed that self-expression is important, and added that while she and a good friend of hers both practice art and painting specifically, they come up with drastically different pieces, at times, that have very different meanings. The point essentially being that each individual has something of their own to express, and maybe something they need to get out in a healthy way in order to feel better at a certain time in life.
Another GC student, Heaven Thornton, a junior psychology major, commented on the topic of self-expression: “Art is absolutely a form of self-expression for me. The only other activities I have found which help me express myself similarly to art are reading and practicing yoga, but even still, neither of those tap into the same areas in the same way that creating art does.”
She went on to say that she works with various mediums depending on her mood and what feelings she needs to express, but that her preferred forms of art are ceramics and poetry. Thornton expounded upon why art expression resonates with her so deeply and why it is important to her: “Though it may sound cheesy, I routinely find myself thinking that there is some sort of magic that happens between an art form and my subconscious when I let the two
engage one another. I sit down to work, and I am present in the process, but it is almost as if the expression takes on a mind of its own somewhere along the way. Connections, phrases and forms pour out of me in ways that I do not expect, and at times, it is almost as if I am a separate onlooker to my own work. For me, it is extremely therapeutic to explore this process, both for the experience of it as well as the ability to view a physical representation of my emotions in the final product of whatever creative endeavor I have taken on.
It can be both highly fulfilling and awe-inspiring to experience such creativity or self-expression for yourself. Even if something like artwork does not resonate with you, I would encourage you to find something else that does. Something that you can really sink into the process of and discover a new, or perhaps just less noticeable, part of yourself at the same time.
As humans, we all have many emotions, some of them frequently complex and all happening simultaneously. It can be a lot to process, and at times we all just need an outlet for those emotions. Find something that lets you feel those emotions and turn them into something you can enjoy or be proud of, or something that lets you release them in healthy way. Self-expression is liberating, fulfilling and entirely for your own benefit. Whatever you decide to do, do it wholeheartedly and for your own growth and self-discovery.