Self-Portrait | Jessica Ferhadson

Written by: Jessica

I always struggled with accepting myself as I am throughout my teenage years. I always felt out of place, had different interests, and a different mindset than the people around me. Friends, family, and happiness were my focus. I thought all those aspects were going well until I turned seventeen.

I wasn't happy with my home life (there were 10 of us living in a two-bedroom house). My friends were never there for me (I was always excluded). And my family's financial situation made it difficult for me to go to school (both my parents were laid off). I’m lucky enough to have had a strong relationship with my aunt, sisters, and grandmother to get me through a tough tough years: senior year and freshman year of college.

At the time, I thought I had my friends. I thought we had a good support system. I was really shy and anxious when I was in my late teens, but I felt comfortable with my group of friends. Until senior year. I felt like I was part of Mean Girls. They burned my clothes, put bleach in my shampoo, and spread endless amount of rumors. All this made it hard for me to trust people. A few of the girls were my cousins, and the adults in my life kept saying “Oh, you're just kids; you'll get over it?" That's when I really felt disconnected from everyone. All this and then a break up?! I thought I was losing everything I thought I had, so I spent a lot of time alone.

Jessica, five years ago. Jessica, five years ago. 

This is when art really became a focus for me. I spent countless hours drawing in my room. I pushed myself towards pursuing art. I created art that expressed how I felt. Battling social anxiety and depression made it hard for me to express myself openly. Art allowed me to release my emotions all while being productive. I had something I was driven towards doing, and that alone helped me get through hard times.

I got a full-ride to a university close by and pursed psychology and art. This is how my love for art therapy came to be. I realized the benefits of drawing and painting and how it can impact the human brain in a positive way.

I've changed a lot in the last five years. I recently turned 23, started a career, and feel much more secure. I finally feel great about myself! Although I'm not yet where I'd like to be, I've come a long way. I love who I've become. I put 110% into all that I do, graduated college, received my cosmetology license, and still create art. I'm happy with my love for people and making others happy.

When I was younger I thought you needed a lot of friends to be happy. I now realize it's okay that I don't have that. Everyone has a different situation and you find happiness in other areas of life. Life is too short to compare yourself to others. Everyone has different paths, goals, and motivators.

I wish I thought about life this way earlier. But we all learn from life and take those experiences to help us grow or help others. I learned that finding something you're passionate about and pursuing it is a great way to stay happy, focused, and motivated to keep going.

I still have my moments where I feel like things aren't going right, but that's where The Crybaby Club made me realize something:  It's okay that I cry because, "I may cry, but I can still get things done.

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