In less than a year, I will be somewhere different. I'll be in college, hours away from everyone I've ever known. Growing up in a small town fails to prepare a kid for a lot of things, and leaving is one of them. Right now, the idea seems ridiculous. I'm not going to wake up every day and see the same people or go to the same places. The very essence of me: what I am, where I am, and who I am, is so engrained into my mind that the thought of changing it seems impossible.

But I am changing. I am changing from something I know into something else entirely and I don't know what. I can look back on what I was, the eccentric self-proclaimed geek in middle school or the awkward, pushy freshman three years ago, and laugh, but, in the process of a transition, I'm scared. Knowing what I am has become such an important part of me that I feel pointless without a label or title. I feel like I'm floating between what I was, yet I haven't changed enough to become something new. Through art, I begin the process of grounding myself.

When I do art, I can see parts of myself reflected in every piece. Sometimes I see things I didn't know I had within me. Every material, shape, and color I pick, I pick for a reason. I don't always know what that reason is, but every piece I do is a journey of self exploration. When I lay my pieces out, I see every facet of myself. I see what I was, what I am, and what I will be all sitting on the same tabletop. Without art, I would still be floating in the void, searching for the essence that is me.

What I have to show you in my portfolio is what I find to be the best examples of who I am right now. Every piece I have selected expresses a part of myself that I have analyzed through art: my insecurities, my fears, my strengths. There's a reason these are my best pieces. The more of myself I put into a piece, the more I care about its success and the better it becomes. My strongest works are the strongest reflections of me and I hope that I have channeled my passion in a successful way.

When people see my work, I not only want them to see me and what I am, but I also want them to see a part of themselves. If one of my pieces resonates with someone and helps them better understand who they are, then I have gotten my ideal reaction. I want others to use art in the way I do; as a tool for examining different aspects of their life. There are some features of themselves that people choose not to acknowledge because they are difficult to accept. I want to present these traits in a different way, so people might consider them and be better for it. I know I've been able to face my imperfections through art and I want others to have the same opportunity.

For me, art is the act of self-exploration. It allows me to lay out my feelings and better understand them. I don't know who I'll be when I'm away from everything I know. The parts that make up who I am will shift and change, and I'll be nameless yet again. The stability that I desire comes from the knowledge that I can rediscover myself. I may not know who I'll be, but I know art will make me understand.