I cried the other day. I cried for the first time in a while. The last time I cried was over a year ago when I stood lifeless and terrified in my empty, childhood bedroom, the second night I moved back home from college. The realism that college was officially over came crashing into me all at once in that moment. I stared out my window and I felt so far away from my friends. Like we were worlds away. I felt numb. My forehead laid against the glass of the window and I cried and cried and cried, wishing that I could go back to college where I felt safe. Where I found myself and I felt alive.
Moving back into my parents house, jobless, with a Fine Arts degree, was absolutely horrifying for me. Especially since the majority of my friends had 'big boy/girl' jobs lined up or were preparing for graduate school. And the most embarrassing thing was when I started hearing the same question over and over again from friends, family and neighbors: "so what are you up to now?"
Truth be told, I didn't know. I didn't have a concrete answer to that question. I felt like an idiot, like I didn't succeed. But in so many ways I did succeed, in my own ways. I spent so many days after moving home, comparing and putting myself down for not being on the same level as my peers.
But what I do know, is that I could never work a typical 9-5 cubicle job. Drawing is my gift from the Universe and I knew I had to pursue it with all my heart.
I've prayed so much for guidance over the last year. It seemed like every time I got in the shower, a new drawing idea was miraculously pop into my head. I started writing messages to God through the steam on the shower doors, like written prayers.
With a lot of praying and some more self-acceptance, a year has passed since the night I broke down upon moving back home and I've drawn about 100 portraits.
The most recent portrait I did made me cry. This is the first drawing I've produced that has literally made me tear up. The meaning behind it is extraordinarily special to me. The drawing is a picture of my friend Kathleen, whom I've known my entire life and is a second sister to me. She lost her parents a year and a half ago. She lost her mother and her father on the same day. She was 26 and her brother was 24 when the tragedy happened. You can read about it here.
Kathleen got married two months ago and unfortunately, her parents weren't able to be there physically. So I drew she and her mother looking back at each other, referencing both pictures from their wedding day.
This time around, I cried happy tears. I cried because I finally feel like I'm on the right path and figuring out how to turn my passion into a career, while touching people's hearts at the same time. And that's what life is all about.
If you'd like to see my other portraits, my website is http://www.jeremymannino.com/
Much Love guys.