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  • Writer's pictureLaShonda Cooks

My Love Letter

Recently, I was asked to speak about my story: what inspires me, how I got started, what are my dreams and goals. The questions took me back to the beginning and made me realize just how far I've come as a woman, as an artist and as a human being. 

I remember praying earnestly to God back when graduation from high school neared for me to know my purpose in life and be given direction. 

That same prayer was uttered over and over to seemingly closed ears as I went to college. I was naturally drawn to the arts and acted with the Babson Players, wrote for the Babson Free Press and played around in the Sorenson ceramics studio, sometimes simultaneously. 

When commencement neared, I had traveled around the world to London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Tokyo and Beijing, I had worked for the school's writing center and somehow managed to reach a 3.0 gpa so I could put cum laude on my resume. But I still had no idea what I wanted to do with all that knowledge.

I moved from Boston back to my parent's home in Dallas and drifted as I uttered the same prayer: what was my purpose?

I coped by partying, drinking and finding love in all the wrong places as I searched for a career, a niche, a calling. Sometimes, I picked up a paintbrush. It calmed me.

I worked retail, worked as a journalist, worked as a fundraiser until finally stumbling upon the world of auto adjusting. I kept painting. 

My parents urged me to show my work to the world. I ignored them for years. It wasn't until I began dating a former artist who echoed their sentiment that I took that first step. 

I started by showing my work at church. I'll never forget that. Then I started doing flea markets. Then I did a few group art shows. I was critiqued and told I needed to take foundational art classes to get my work into galleries. So I did. 

I don't know when exactly I realized that God had answered my prayer. B hiput one day it just clicked. My purpose was linked with creating and helping others create. 

I am so thankful and proud and humbled to be in this space. My goal is simple. Keep getting better. Keep bringing others access to safe creation spaces. Keep growing. 

When did you first realize your calling? How has it changed or morphed over the years? 

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