Artists in Recovery Contest winner

First Step Center is excited to announce that Taja Tyler is the winner or our Artist in Recovery Contest. Thank you to everyone who submitted. We are grateful to have received so many outstanding pieces.

Here is what Taja wrote about her piece:

This piece symbolizes a lot in my life, and is why I’m so attached to it. First, the colors are space-themed and shiny to represent light in the darkness of space, the way emotions can flood a person. More specifically, me. The colors even each have their own meanings. Blue represents my depression, purple, my anxiety, black, the numbness and void that comes with it, and pink. Pink is the hope that everything will be okay in the end. No sadness, anxiety, or numbness can stop me from recovering and doing what I love with my life.

Next, the wing I painted is like the wing of a monarch butterfly, sprouting from the semicolon, the symbol that my story is not over. It does not end here.

The person I painted is of myself. My messy bed hair shows how hard it is to get up every morning and take care of myself. The head is exaggerated to show how mental illness is hard to carry on one’s shoulders. The body is smaller to represent eating unhealthily, whether one’s eating a lot of unhealthy things like sugar (and not getting what your body needs to stay strong), or whether one’s starved. The heart represents the pain that just seems to stay. It’s missing the actual heart, and the blood and veins also represent the pain in one’s chest when they can’t take it. When they want it to stop.

The shine around the piece is the light, Hope, and strength one gives off. Especially when they help others and themselves, and that aura is irreplaceable. Because if the person is lost, the arua the give off is lost forever as well. So by staying here, their aura shines bright because of the strength it takes to power through mental illness.

Lastly, the text I added. “My pain will NEVER be my end.” I added because I never want to be remembered as the person who killed herself. I hope that by sharing this quote, and this piece, it’ll show someone, somewhere it absolutely does not have to end here. We can all heal, support each other, and love each other. But the most important thing is to love and support oneself, so that one can heal and overcome mental illness.