Being Yourself In Art And Writing

Bruce Von Stiers

Among youth, there is a never ending drive to be perfect. To have the perfect body, the perfect face, the perfect clothes, the perfect friends and the perfect life. But most don't achieve that. In fact, a majority of youths never even come close to being perfect. But that's okay.

Being okay with not being perfect is the theme of the book I Am Me: Teen Artists and Writers Speak Out on Being Yourself. It is collection of poems, essays and art from students that range from sixth to twelfth grades. The book was edited by Tom Worthen, Ph.D. and published by Creative Communication.

The intended audience for the book are youth for the ages of 12 though about 17 and for 6 th through 12 th graders.

The writings in the book are both imaginative and thought provoking. From hiding what your true self is to proving to others that you are worthy, the themes are at times harsh, other times heart wrenching.

8th grader Emma Kobb writes about others thinking she's good enough, because she'll prove them wrong. Not wanting to be normal, and fit into a standard is kind of what Shy Neigum's poem Dear Society is about.

The writings are about not conforming to what society wants us to be like. Being independent or being a loner might not be as bad as it might seem to others. And beauty is truly only skin deep as there are wondrous people whose bodies and looks don't fit a standard mold.

Each writing is matched with a painting or drawing. The art not only complements the writing, but gives the unique perspective of the artist. Someone peering behind a hole in a brick wall is the painting by Jiwon Shin. A painting by Sue Jin Park shows a girl looking towards us holding two masks. And Lindsay Frank's painting shows a girl's fracturing face.

This book is an honest and powerful view of how youth feel others see them. And how it is okay to just be yourself and not conform to how society thinks you should look or act like.

I Am Me: Teen Artists and Writers Speak Out on Being Yourself can be found at major book retailers and online at venues like amazon.

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers