Here's my story:
When I was three years old I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Hypomelanosis of Ito. The genetic mutation caused markings on my skin and a large difference in size between the two halves of my body. The disorder required yearly check-ups to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. I have now become used to the poking, prodding and multiple questions that come with every hospital visit but doctor’s offices still overwhelm me at times. The summer after I graduated from high school I had jaw surgery and was in the hospital for over a week. Between much pain and lack of solid food, I wasn’t able to enjoy a lot of my summer or really get out of my house. As a girl who grew up dancing, not being able to leap and pirouette on a constant basis had me on edge. I started ballet class when I was four and dancing soon became my form of expression. I always used dance as a way to get out my energy when I was too happy to sit still, release my rage when I was mad, or drown my sorrows when life got me down. Within the next month after my surgery I picked up a serious infection and was forced to spend another two week in the hospital. During this time I found myself emotionally stressed and pushed to the edge. Without my ability to express myself through dance, I had no way of releasing my feelings. Everything changed when I was introduced to the hospital’s art therapist for the first time. Not only did she impact my recovery time, but she changed my life. The art therapist gave me a way to express my emotions when I was physically restricted to do so otherwise. I always loved to color and doodle, but was never a serious artist. In the hospital I discovered my passion for paint and holding a brush in my hand. Without art therapy I do not believe the rest of my time trapped in the hospital would have gone as smoothly. Keeping a clear, calm head is essential for a fast recovery and I am very thankful for all the peace art has given me. I have always known that I wanted to give back to the hospital and help young children who were facing the same fears and challenges I have faced over the years; and I soon came to realize art therapy was the perfect way to fulfill those dreams. I plan on majoring in Psychology and achieving an art minor. My dream would be to work as an art therapist in a pediatric hospital in the future. I am still a young artist with a lot of passion and determination, but not as much experience in the field. I look forward to developing my skills at Western and cannot wait to use my experience to help other people in the future.
I wish I could add pictures, but I misplace (completely lost) my camera cord this summer and have no way of uploading pictures to my computer yet :( Maybe someday I'll share a few of my amateur drawings with you.