By all gauges, it's a miracle that I discovered I could paint ten years ago--that painting gives me joy--that painting takes the world away, and time away, and creates beauty from someplace within me that wasn't affected by being abused as a child, wasn't affected by being told I was worthless, and wasn't affected by myself believing I was worthless. Painting is the world within me, unashamed, and even more than that: painting is my truth; the soul remains infinitely beautiful and free, and is untouched and untainted by trauma, pain, or circumstance. After years of working full time as a custodian, and then painting after work for hours, and every spare minute I could find... just placing the colors in front of me and planting the idea in my head-- that by the end of the painting... I will know how I feel.. and trusting where my (gloved) hands place the colors... everything will work. After all those hours of after hours, lost to the world and found to myself, in the canvas, and learning steadily more and more--to trust my inner impulse.. I am here to be an example, not only to myself--that I will prevail--but to others who now doubt themselves, who now feel lost and seemingly without an inner form of self-expression. I speak now to those who go through their hours, weeks, years--afraid their life will pass, unexpressed... or dulled by life's burdens: never relinquish the fight to find your voice and keep it--there is a beauty and resilience within you, that when expressed--will be incomparable to all others.