Name: Melissa ...
From: Milwaukee, WI
School: Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
The Art Of Addiction
The death of a parent is hard. When you and your twin sister are born prematurely, have dozens of surgeries as an infant, just to survive and suddenly at age nine, your entire world is rocked by the death of your Dad, life seems insurmountable. At the time in my life when I needed my father, he was snatched from me. Worse yet, my mother, in her despair, turned to the bottle. Addiction hits everyone. She was an engineer for Space Command. Life became unbearable and untenable for our family.
One night, out of selfishness, my sister and I wanted something from the store. What resulted was mom being arrested for drunk driving. Another tragedy, another obstacle in our lives, but it taught us a valuable lesson, not only do accidents kill, so does addiction and one of the things it kills is innocence. My sister and I rallied around our mother, who lost everything.
Despite jail, homelessness and losing a career, we became a stronger family. Out of this we rose, like a phoenix, from the ashes of life, to become better. Mom got help. We went to counseling and God provided. Perhaps the most important thing that came from this was strength. My sister grew stronger, more determined. My Mom became a pillar of strength for us and we vowed to not drink or take drugs.
Unlike most teenagers who tempt fate by dabbling with addictive behavior, not just video games, music and such, but drugs, alcohol and sex, we did not. Even as a freshman in college my sister, who is enrolled at a college in Arizona and I, in Milwaukee, sixteen hours from home, have not dabbled in drugs, alcohol or sex. We have a higher purpose in life and have seen what the psychology of addiction can do to a family.
Our great nation is awash in a sea of addiction, being chemical or physical, as most of those around me suffer from the “Disease Of Me”…They seek to gratify themselves, thinking not of the future, only living for the now, putting college at risk, their future, through lost security clearances and the like, not realizing what kind of ruin they can bring, and the relationships with family, friends and future relationships they can cause.
To forever reverse this “Disease of Me” people must accept who they are, be accountable to themselves, their family and to their future selves. The disease of me can only be cured through accountability, to oneself and to what we bring to society. My step dad has been a huge help in keeping me on the straight and narrow, not by being a task master and disciplinarian, but by being a role model, a conversationalist, who has shown me that I am the captain of my own spaceship and I determine the course of my life.
As an artist and illustrator I hope to inspire and lead future generations, through animation, design, art and the beauty that I create, to a world of escape, that does not involve chemicals or alcohol, but instead involves a journey of the mind. In order for addiction in our self-centered society to come under control, we must walk the path of accountability, of selflessness, giving to others, not taking from others, not seeking personal gratification at all costs, but washing the disease of me from ourselves, in acts of beauty of selflessness.
This scholarship will enable me to complete my education, touching the lives of others, while I command my own spaceship, taking people with me, on a journey to the center of their minds, their hearts, touching lives and demonstrating that addiction and the disease of me can be overcome by giving of yourself, to the world. In order for the world to be a better place, we must become better people, through selflessness.