On Facing Fear and Moving Forward

My friends,

I couldn’t rightfully begin this without first thanking you for opening this letter. I am humbled by the overwhelming support I have been shown throughout the years since I first began pursuing a creative career publicly. I am long overdue to be updating you! I’ve fallen behind on many facets of my online presence, and it seems unfair to return without offering an explanation.

Oh, what a beautiful season of growth I have been in!

As blessed as I am to be here in the College of Design (my heart still races when I see the room I interviewed in), I would be robbing you of authenticity if I insisted all has been perfect. Freshman year was exciting, but must admit it took a toll on me. My heart ached for the woods and rolling hills of home. Design studio was an exciting, but intimidating new frontier for me. I found myself giving an ear to that cruel little voice insisting to me that I didn't measure up. What could possibly be so interesting about myself or the things I make that would beckon so many people to stick around? Every post felt like a gamble. I only shared about 10 percent of what I actually created. The rest, I determined, couldn't be worthy. My worry ultimately manifested itself as apathy. Inspiration would come and go, and I simply watched it on its way. I let commission projects fall by the wayside. Thumbnails and concepts lay dormant in my sketchbook until the graphite faded. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I simply stood still.

I've come to realize that life isn't divided into neat chapters like we may imagine it to be. Life is more like that diary you started as a kid, then later revisited and tore the pages out of in embarrassment. However, there's no tearing pages here, and we are far better off this way! We will always be learning, reflecting, reevaluating, and moving forward.

This time around, I chose to reflect and move forward.

As freshman year came to a close, I was blessed with the opportunity to leave the States for the first time in my 20 years of life. Fear fought against the decision hard. I was petrified of flying. I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving unfinished projects, unfilled orders, and all else on my endless list of self-invented obligations. But my heart called me to this trip. We would be helping lead a summer art class to a group of elementary students

I made my way through the tunnel with trembling knees, stopping to feel the cold metal of the plane’s exposed exterior as I boarded. The runway was still dark as we began to accelerate. I suddenly remembered every roller coaster line I’d backed out of last minute, wishing desperately to do the same now. But as soon as our wheels left the tarmac, anxiety gave way to wonder. No one noticed the tears I couldn’t hold back, although I admit for the first time I didn’t mind the spectacle I must’ve made. I doubt I looked away from that window for more than a moment for the duration of our flight, I had never seen such an incredible sunrise!

If I had only known the magnitude of the experience awaiting me on the other side of that flight, I would have likely ran through my terminal! I made incredible friends, discovered an immense source of creative inspiration, and found myself in awe of art’s ability to traverse language barriers to bring people together.

I returned home a bit braver, and better acquainted with the inevitability of imperfection.

My sophomore year is back in full swing now, and the sun seems a bit brighter shining through the studio windows than it did before. So many things are different this semester, and I am learning to love new beginnings and change. I am taking the time to get to know myself, and better understand the roles I can fill in the world. We are placed on this earth as an element in an incomprehensibly beautiful artwork, and I am learning to trust the Artist's hand.

I don’t want to present to you (or anyone at that) a polished, artificial version of myself. All too often we fall into believing we are the only ones who haven't figured it out. My friends, this could not be further from the truth. Some of the best parts of this life come from embracing vulnerability. So here's to being human!

It is my hope that the art I create will reflect this.

All my gratitude and love,


Psalm 94:19

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