It Had Always Been Like This
It had always been like this, I’d always had this outlook within me—but I’d kept it underground. I’d buried my own ability to appreciate life.
The four-and-a-half years I spent with epilepsy were also spent in the dark. My constant seizures and continuously increasing medication made me more detached and unfocused every day. My social life collapsed, I fought with the only people who truly cared about me, and I began to doubt the chances of having a successful future. Every day, I got ignored in group chats, left out of plans, pushed out of activities. I never stood up to the kids who bullied me, I only knew how to endure it. And that’s how I lived, enduring one crushed possibility after another. Going to college? Getting my driver’s license? Continuing to perform? Nothing seemed achievable anymore.
I was miraculously treated through brain surgery, which I will forever be grateful for. But the second I stepped out of the hospital, everything was different. It was lighter. The sky was a little bluer. The skyscrapers rose a little higher. And the sun blazed ten times as bright. It felt as if a mist had been lifted from my vision, and I could finally see the world for how spectacular it was. In the months to follow, I realized that I didn’t have to be alone. I could see now. I could see everything for how glorious and painful and beautiful it was. It had always been like this, I’d always had this outlook within me – but I’d kept it underground. I’d buried my own ability to appreciate life. And when I finally dug it up four-and-a-half years, I was myself once more.
My sculpture represents those parts of me that remained hidden under the surface. I came across as distant and reserved, as I found myself entangled in my own thoughts much of the time. I was unaware of the creativity and excitement boiling inside me, which was finally released the same day I woke up from my surgery. Through this piece, I juxtaposed my cynical state-of-mind with my latent positive outlook and capabilities. The head is made of terra cotta grout clay, under-glazed and bisque-fired. The warm tones are cut-out construction paper, and I added several more effects with Procreate.
Ruby Faith Hentoff is a passionate fiction writer and junior in high school. When she’s not writing short stories, screenplays and songs, you can find her drawing, baking or listening to Broadway musicals. One of her missions in writing is to spread epilepsy awareness and connect to those who suffer from seizures. She lives in Manhattan, New York.