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Shirah Kraus's picture

I traced my hand and began to doodle in lines. This hand is a a representation of a part of me. It is a Hamsa (Arabic), a Yad (Hebrew), a symbol of peace and protection. It also reflects my love of art and of soothing repetition of lines and symbols--keeping my hand busy and my mind focused. Near the end of my design, I began to be more intentional about the symbols I chose. I chose to draw a peace sign and allowed it to fade unfinished. I did this because it sometimes seems that the more I strive for peace in my life and work, the more it seems to drift away.

I also drew a baloon that is fading, symbolic of my childhood and the loss that I feel growing older and watching my six-year-old sister grow and change. Like a child with a helium baloon, I sometimes try desperately to hold on to hopes of peace and to my childhood. I don't want them to slip away and float up into the clouds. I desperately want to remain playful, creative, enthusiastic, energetic, and active even as I grow older. I want to retain my youthful resilience, love of life, and pursuit of joy.

I loved being a counselor this summer for third-sixth graders, because they are open, confident, and uninhibited by social pressures (unlike older kids). They tend to care more about having fun and less about being cool. They love when I speak whale (yes like the animal) and they don't care what clothes I wear. Their zeal for life and learning inspires me and I want to emulate their enthusiasm.

I purposefully did not finish the artwork, because I see myself as unfinished. I am constantly growing and changing and adding new patterns to the artwork of my life and self.