By Guest Blogger: Erica Thompson, TAYi
Pablo Picasso once said, "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." On April 14, 2012 members of the Transition Age Youth Commission gathered together for the first Art of View Project. This project was led by Pedro Alvarez. Members were given white canvases and brushes and were asked to paint what was on their minds. The juices within our brains were flowing with originality. I painted a black silhouette of a dancer twirling behind a pink wash, since I always wanted to be a ballerina as a child. The ballerina is black and has dreadlocks. I wanted her to be black on purpose since there are so few black ballerinas.
Because my mother lacked the funds I never got to pursue ballet. Yet that didn't stop me. After my first psychotic break when I turned 17, I decided I wanted to do something for myself. I looked intensively for adult ballet classes and found one at the Berkeley Ballet Theatre in Berkeley, California. To this day, I am still dancing, except this time to another genre — Zumba, a Latin-dance inspired fitness program.
I also painted a drawing of a young girl with an afro saying "Black is beautiful." I feel like we live in a society today where being black is not sought as beautiful in comparison with other races, when in fact black women are some of the most beautiful women. We come in all shades and colors, and our hair comes in all different textures. Being biracial, it was definitely difficult identifying with being both black and Chinese. At 5 when I was living in Oakland, I thought being black was the coolest thing to be. When I moved to Fremont, a predominately Asian and white suburb, I seemed to think otherwise. The one quote I do strive to live by is one by Marianne Williamson, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?" Williamson's quote essentially means we all are afraid of something within us, even our past mistakes., but we need to embrace the power that still drives us to be the best we can possibly be.