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2005 - Senior Project

2005 - Senior Project

During Leah’s senior year of high school in 2005, a self-proclaimed procrastinator, she found herself without a clue as to what she would create in art class for her senior project. As the deadline quickly approached she spent weeks sitting in a small office in the center of the art room melting crayons on a piece of paper which was infuriating her teacher more each day as he continued to push her to make something happen. With a week to go before the deadline she took her paper home and sat in the garage staring at the melted crayons. As a young child she learned she could use the bottom bar on the old metal heater in her room to melt crayons by pressing them on the bar. She began to recall the many hours she spent laying on the floor melting crayons and the beauty that would come when different colors would blend together. As she recalled this pleasant memory and stared down at the melted colors in front of her now, it struck her that she could see her self-portrait emerging from the paper. The project she now had did not excite her teacher as much as it did her and he thought it was a waste of time. That waste of time would end up winning an award. It is still one of her favorite pieces today partially due to the beauty of the work and possibly more due to coming to the realization that one cannot create from nothing. Art comes from within and you must take the time to sit and think and let your emotions guide you.

Bright, beautiful, outgoing, athletic, creative, and a fun-loving family who encouraged personal freedom and growth as much as education, Leah doesn’t know how her childhood could have been much better or blessed. Yet even with everything on the surface being about as perfect as it could be, on the inside Leah still felt lost. She spent much of her youth and early adulthood often feeling like she didn’t belong or the inhabitant of someone else’s body. Even with the freedom and family encouragement to find what moves her and express her true self, she was never quite certain who she was. Time and time again she would do things solely to please others which would almost always backfire and end in a bout with depression. Wanting to find her place in this life, she often found herself following in the footsteps of one of her brother’s instead of forging her own path with the natural talents she was well aware that she had. The bouts with depression happened more often and alcohol became the coping mechanism to temporarily mask the pain. Each bout being won by depression. Alcohol would pick away at the stability and structure she once had and give in to more reckless decisions.

After high school she decided to enroll at Ball State University along with her high school boyfriend. This decision only solidified that she was once again on someone else’s path. This led to more depression and drinking. She did not return for her sophomore year. Instead, she stayed back home and joined the workforce and spent a number of years in a couple different professions and creating art in her spare time.

Written by Brendan Douglas for Alien Dove

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