I used to think an artist had to be dark and brooding, misunderstood. When I was in high school, I wrote poems from this perspective, using phrases like “the tattered fragments of my heart,” and overusing words like “hollow” and “isolation.”

Do you know what I say to that today? Pish, posh. Today, I sing loudly to “Zak and Sara,” drink Diet Dr. Pepper, and delight in fields of sunflowers. I marvel at the perfection of fruit (seriously, how cool is fruit?!). I make silly faces to people who stare at me.

So let us raise our glasses of artificially-flavored beverage and toast to the beauty of being (and our art representing) nothing other than who we truly are.

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