I’m Dominique, but I sometimes call myself Bipolar Barbie. I may look normal, but my physical and mental health struggles don’t show on the outside. I grew up feeling like a black sheep not just in my family, but in the world. I have so many good qualities, yet I still felt cursed living my life and wondering what was wrong with me. The only thing I heard about myself was how pretty and beautiful I am, but my signs of depression were ignored. As I got older and had kids I began seeing things in them that I struggle with that I had no clue were mental health concerns. Through battling for answers to understand and help my kids, I learned about myself as well. After years of feeling like there was no place I fit in, I learned about the AIM Center shortly after my diagnosis of Bipolar depression. Many things stood out to me, but the art studio caught my attention. I was interested in art but didn’t know I had potential until Judy Mogul, the art teacher, helped me find my niche and told me about the Hart Gallery. I was scared at first, but everyone has been so welcoming that I feel like I have found my second home. Creating art gives me an outlet for my feelings and helps me balance my mood. Seeing myself maturing in art brings me joy that I’m doing something right in life. Making colors and shapes, pouring paint to mix colors, making brush strokes, or using a marker makes my spirit dance and soul leap for joy.