Our friends at Kendra Scott in Green Hills gave a young woman in our Works Wonders program, Sara, the opportunity to express herself by making a collection of jewelry. Her collection, a beautiful bracelet and ring, both symbolizes and celebrates her journey at Monroe Harding. Sara talked about what inspired the colors she chose for her pieces . . . a blue sweater she would wear to give her comfort in times of despair. The sparkles inspired other aspects of her journey and her family. Sara came to Monroe Harding to help her discover a path to excellence during a tumultuous time both at home and in the world. Sara had just graduated from high school and knew that starting college during a pandemic wouldn’t be a wise decision. So, with the help of our Works Wonders program Sara found a job that she both loves and excels in. Read more about Sara in her own words below.
Often, something takes us back. Whether that’s a scent, a melody, or an image. But because I am a visual person, I connected deeply with the blue stone I chose here specifically because of its color. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on as to why. Halle (who so kindly guided me through the process at Kendra Scott) noticed that I kept trying to work around it with other stones instead of switching it out for any other. Halle asked, “why that color amongst all other colors?” And that’s when it clicked. My favorite blue cardigan. One that I wore for its shades of blue that I visually connected to emotionally. I was at a thrift store and it caught my eye. I remember begging my parents to buy it and convinced them that even though it’s not in the best knit condition, it covered my bum. From the back, the sweater reminded me of the Starry Night painting by Vincent van Gogh. I couldn’t describe the comfort the shades of blue gave me at a time when I felt like my life was in such chaos.
Wearing it, even when I was depressed, I felt somewhat comfortable in the different shades of blue. It was almost like I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling rather than forcing it to leave. I knew that if I kept fighting it the way I did in the beginning, my fear would intensify and it would consume my whole life. Even though it seemed like I was protecting myself from what looks like the worst emotion to feel in one’s life, I was in fact protecting myself from being human. As humans, we carry strength in the idea of not feeling too strongly because we think we’re able to control what we feel, how we feel it, and how much of it we feel. We tie ourselves to weakness when we convey such emotions because it seems like we can’t control our feelings as we allow them to breathe within our souls. But rather that is the definition of freedom; to feel the way your feelings come onto you; it’s the truest you, you can be. We suppress emotion so much it bottles up and comes back up when you least expect it.
All along, I knew I was different and it was obvious to others too because that’s how they treated me. People made me feel inferior because I was different. There was pressure to try and relate to everyone in ways that swallowed the difference that made me who I am. I also figured that in order for people to like me and diminish picking on me for my differences, I would help them so I didn’t seem like a bad guy, even though I had the same good intentions all along. I became friends with everyone at my expense. This made me put myself second in every aspect of my life. I drew attention from myself and my own impressive qualities and accomplishments to help others attain their dreams. Helping others in the way I did, belittled my own dreams and myself because I was building others out of bricks I didn’t carry myself. I convinced myself I was being kind and giving, but all I did was diminish my purpose as I lived for others. I was a wallflower, a background dancer in my own journey. I fooled everyone and myself. When this spiraled into depression, I didn’t understand what and why I was feeling the way I was. As I
discovered why I had ended up feeling the way I did, I found myself having no one to speak to. I felt like even though everyone trusted me, I didn’t trust anyone. I realized that my version of kindness was a weakness because it never flourished back onto me. I felt alone.
I fueled my feelings into forms of art. I began to write, and I consumed everything about the fashion world I could, learning about styling and new trends. I had so much passion for it that it eventually turned into a tool I used to get over hard times. By playing dress up and transforming the way I looked, it changed the way I felt about myself. It also gave me the chance to portray my feelings in a visual manner. And because I loved fashion, my blue sweater gave me comfort because I was projecting an emotion without saying a word. Despite having a strong belief in expression, it was important for me that when it came to processing my emotions verbally and visually, I expressed them in the safe space of my room. I created these forms of art in private and shared them whenever they became more digestible and easy to comprehend. I felt more comfortable sharing those forms of art rather than directing the conversation about depression. It was a way to communicate without having to speak emotions in bold. I also wanted to feel the rawness of my emotions all on my own; it was personal. I did not judge myself at that time, making it easier to heal.
Looking back, it was such a dark place and having a way to express myself was the most valuable thing that helped me the most fighting this battle. I was inspired by my emotions and turned to creative outlets that made me look at my experience in a brighter light. This freedom of expression created solidarity and peace with my inner self. I began to trust myself and found a way to accept the fact that depression came with insecurities, flaws, and imperfections. I also began to find a way to be comfortable in sharing my experiences after finding that solidarity and trust within myself. And as a page turner to that, I chose this opportunity with Kendra Scott to do just that. These pieces of art are a reminder to myself and to those who live for others; that YOU are the main character in your story! Never let anyone take that, or what makes you who you are, away from you.
Sincerely, Sara Thaher