The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the snow is melting. Okay, maybe that isn’t actually happening yet, it is only March in Ontario after all. But the season changed to spring just the other day and we are well on our way to warmer weather and brighter skies. I’ve been gazing out the window watching the clouds float by as I write this letter, and it reminded me of a time I was cloud watching with my sister many, many years ago.
Looking up at the big fluffy clouds, my sister pointed to one and said it was definitely a car. I remember following her pointing finger up to the sky and couldn’t find a car anywhere in sight. Instead, I saw a dragon setting a house on fire. We were both gazing up at the exact same cloud, yet saw two drastically different images unfold.
We may have only been kids back then, but it taught me a very interesting lesson. No matter what it is you’re looking at, everyone is going to view it differently. Everyone has their own unique perspective, sees the world in their own distinct version and finds their own ways to convey their thoughts and feelings.
And that brings me to the basis of what this magazine is all about, so, without further ado, welcome to Youth Mind’s spring edition, The Expression Issue. I would like to thank Youth Mind’s talented reporter, Rebecca Benitez-Berona, who worked on the fall and winter magazines and had the brilliant idea for this issue’s theme.
Originally, this was going to be the arts and expression issue, and as you’ll be able to see from the articles, there’s a clear reason as to why. Expression and art are intrinsically tied together, you can’t really have one without the other. Art is a facet to express ourselves; our thoughts and feelings and the ways in which we view the world.
As Rebecca noted, the arts field is also one filled with many prejudices. The number of people I know who decided not to follow a career they were passionate about, or go to school to pursue their dreams, just because it was in the arts field, is astounding. So many people give up on their passions, or push them to the side, because they don’t think that there is room for dream jobs in the “real world” or they feel that they won’t produce a steady income.
I hope that this issue of Youth Mind will help people see that you don’t have to sacrifice happiness for stability. It might mean taking on more than one job to combine what you love with a job that offers benefits or keeping up with your passions through hobbies but there are always ways to ensure you can do what you love, what makes you, you, without compromising in other aspects of life.
But that isn’t the only message this issue is trying to convey, because art is just one of the many ways that individuals use to express themselves. It’s interesting to me that when you look up synonyms for “expression,” almost all the words are synonymous for “speaking” or “voicing.” But expressing oneself is so much more than that, and for some, those words aren’t synonymous with how they express themselves at all.
So, if there’s one major takeaway from the spring issue, I hope you all see the importance of self-expression. It is our identity and a symbol of our individualism. It helps us express emotions we may be grappling with, it pushes us to be ourselves in the truest sense of the word. You might find the best way to express yourself through art, through music, through fashion, or, like me, through writing.
Find the ways that work best for you; the possibilities are endless.
About the author
Emma Siegel is the former managing editor of Youth Mind. She loves em dashes a little too much—no, really, it’s true—and when she isn’t editing a story or doing research for her next article, you can always find her with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other.