Under a pile of canvases and frames, one eye peers out from under layers of bubble wrap. It is one of my sketches titled “Breaking Free From Myself.” The self-portrait shows my frontal profile with four of my hands, one covering my mouth, two covering my ears, and one covering my right eye. My left eye finally peers out and can see; at that time I was starting to break free.

Before this drawing, I never really knew who I was or even could be. I remained at a place in my life when I was just discovering my talents and my passions. I liked art, music, and just to analyze things, looking for the smallest details. But still, I really had no idea as to why I was drawn to these things. It was as if I was a blank piece of paper, ready to be drawn or even painted on. I didn’t know what my eyes looks like, I had covered all of my senses with my hands. I was blind, deaf, and silent on the things that went around in my life.

It was not until the first day of highschool that the first of the locks that kept me captive under my skin was unlocked. In my school planner, quotes had been printed at the bottom left hand corner of the pages. One of them stuck out to me.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo said this, and it somehow resonated with something inside me. This was when I first realized I could be something that I wanted to be. I had a choice and a voice.

It was not until I realized that if I could do anything I set my mind to, that the lock that held my left eye captive came apart. This was the climax of my journey. Something clicked in me and I felt a passion for life. I wanted to breathe it in and just soak it up. I was now able to see part of the world in front of me; I was able to see what was possible. I had gained use of my left eye.

Finding one’s identity is the first step in breaking free from oneself. Without that “eye”dentity, one cannot really create the person that one wants to be. An eye is revealed because the eye is central to people’s identity. Each eye is unique and different from everyone else. I had found my “eye”dentity, I had found my eyes. The next step was to start molding the person that had them. The hands cover the unknown, ready to be molded into someone. I became someone who is ambitious. I became someone who wants to reach for the stars, cliche I know, but true. I want to see how far I can go and then aim a little higher. I was shy and quiet, but with this release of passion and a wave for life, all I want to go out and look for more. I became an even bigger introvert, but with this, I became to know who I am, and went even further to become an extrovert. I had started to figure out the person behind the locked locks of skin.

From here, my journey continues on as the rest of the locks break and the hands go down. I am gaining full sight; I can finally hear; and I have a voice. I had begun to shape who I wanted to become. Around my room hang my own creations of Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollack. Classical recreations of mine adorn my bookcases. All of the pieces represent who I want to be. Each of the artist had a voice and a vision that came to life through the different artworks. Every detail, every color was chosen for a reason. I want to immerse myself it them. But, my self-portrait will forever be in bubble wrap in the corner of my room. It will serve as a reminder of the time when I was held captive under my skin. It is a reminder of when my “eye”dentity was nothing but a blur. It will stay there, as I continue on with my life.