That favorite T-shirt you have had for years, the new nail color you would like to try, your hairstyle you are notorious for, the nautical theme décor on display in your living room, that Beyoncé song you dance to while getting dressed—all objects of expression. Our style, personalities, and preferences tell the story of who we are. The list of our favorite meals, songs, places, and brands are compiled through our experiences and the journey we embark on to learn ourselves and how we move through the world. It’s the singer who hums all day, the painter whose hands are never clean, the dancer that is always moving, the photographer capturing unexplainable coincidences, the fashion guru styled to perfection, and the toddler who’s thrown himself to the floor in a tantrum because he is still learning to speak; exemplary examples of expression.
Exercising my creative talents has always been the most compelling manner in which I have chosen to express myself. As a kid, I did not always have the words to explain how I felt about the difficulties I experienced. Coloring, drawing, and writing were my first course of action to release the energy that consumed my being. When I could not express verbally, I established an outlet to calm the fear and process my emotions. It became clear to me that my mind worked a little differently than others. I loved school and was an A+ student on the honor roll. When I was not in school, I always wanted to do something creative, and that is still true years later. At times at work, I find myself daydreaming about a project I am working on or something I would like to start.
You’ll notice me from a mile away—that is my goal when I get dressed. Something I wear will always catch your eye. Why? For all the times I never felt seen or heard, I take every opportunity to make sure my presence is not only felt but also noticed.
My smile is reserved until I get to know you—I often smile when happy and, at times, uncomfortable as well. The moments I hear a kind compliment, see fabric I love and can imagine myself sewing, notice a funny billboard, and of course, see my food order come to the table. I have two noticeable dimples that quickly appear as my lips part, and my teeth began to show. My positive energy and optimistic perspective shine in my smile.
What does style mean to you? Do you engage in fashion trends? If it is bold, vibrant, and evokes an emotion, I most definitely want it. I love rich and bright colors—I want to be seen before I can even speak a word. You’ll notice me from a mile away, that is my goal when I get dressed. Something I wear will always catch your eye. Why? For all the times I never felt seen or heard, I take every opportunity to make sure my presence is not only felt but also noticed. At work, in my community, and amongst family, I am known for being well-dressed and in something that usually stands out. A little confusing, right? I’m shy and reserved, yet I wear bold clothing to be seen—just another way I express myself.
As an adult, sewing is my superpower. I just ordered a T-shirt to prove it. Again, expressing myself.
I have met so many amazing people via social media, in fabric stores, and just walking the streets—obviously before the quarantine—through my journey in sewing. Being able to take an idea that was a thought and create something tangible is amazing. There is no better feeling than walking around in clothing that you have made for yourself. I eagerly wait for the moment to say, “I made this.”
Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at writing, poetry, room renovations, upcycling furniture, painting, party planning, planning my own wedding, photography, and cooking. When I discovered sewing, the experience gave me a feeling I had not accomplished with any other craft.
Being able to take an idea that was a thought and create something tangible is amazing. There is no better feeling than walking around in clothing that you have made for yourself. I eagerly wait for the moment to say, “I made this.”
There is so much to be said for the choices we make daily. Are you aware of how you choose to express yourself? Consciously and unconsciously? Be sure to take a moment to reflect and maybe ask a friend as well. It is beneficial to know how others see and understand who you are. We make statements in everything we do. There are no rules, no limits, and no judgment. The choice is yours to make, and whatever feels good to you, do it. We waste time, internally wrestle with what we need. We cannot be honest with others until we have made the decision to see truth for ourselves.
I had no voice. I received no encouragement to speak my mind. I was coached to suppress my emotions. I internalized my feelings. Creativity was the escape and my vessel to expression. My “aha” moment—I love Oprah—was becoming a Father and realizing I wanted my child to have a healthier experience. Ava and I have great communication, I offer her opportunities to express her thoughts and feelings, and I share mine as well. Our bond helped heal much of my pain, and sharing my story will help others.
The kid in me will always resort to creativity to find peace and resolution. The man in me understands that’s the most effective way for me to express myself. I love that about me. The floral print shirts that I keep choosing, listening to “Get it over with” by Rihanna when I am in a somber mood, that multicolored fabric I purchased and knew I wanted to sew a cool dress for my daughter, the heartfelt words I write in greeting cards, an inspirational quote I share in my Instagram stories, and the DIY projects I complete to clear my mind; just a few examples of how expression makes a difference in my life.