I was in middle school when I realized that I was becoming too tired to lie awake with my fears anymore. It was glorious. I am sure I chuckled a little before dozing seamlessly off to sleep. I think that might have been the first time I realized a growth in myself—the type of change that makes the growing pains worth it.

Here, I am too engulfed in art to look back or question its purpose. Blasphemy, they would say to my questioning thoughts, before sending me straight to the counselor and/or nurse. But I have now reached week four here at CSSSA, and I recognize that I am just like everyone else—and in the best way possible. I have successfully been converted to the belief that art is important, that I am important, and that making bad work is important. I have succumbed to the idea that my art can help other people and that it can help me, too (well kind of, but I am getting there…). I don’t feel like the Rebel Spy anymore, a secret dissident amongst a happy wave of art campers.

I want to grow more. I suppose that is easy to say when you are in the midst of the payoff, but I have never felt more eager to leave my (fill in the blank) home and my (fill in the blank) school. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to have lived in this safe community. However, I didn’t realize the effect of home on my psyche until leaving it and starving the problems. There is, of course, a solution—the arts boarding school two hours away couldn’t be any more of a paradise. But the ropes binding me to home have been tied sternly with adult hands, which can’t be undone by me. I need a solution for the solution.

I have dreams—daydreams—where I am tied at the waist to a rock in the middle of the desert with no one to help set me free.

S.O.S. ♦