Contest Winner for October

Contest Winner for October 2011 is Tristan Raymond from Mississauga, Ont.

How does one begin to explain “art”? Art can’t properly be defined. Art is an opinion. Art takes the place of words, when words alone can’t express the fire in one’s heart. To me, art is my outlet when I’ve had enough of the outside world. To me, art is my relief when the stress of a routine has me angry and upset. And had I not realized this great, overwhelming truth when I did, I’m not sure if I’d be alive right now to write this in my basement, Chopin playing quietly on my iPod. So my question is: how haven’t the arts changed my life? Before I grew to love the musical arts, the constant thought that kept gnawing at the back of my mind was “I am not special”. Who was I? I was a ten year old, introverted boy with nothing to look forward to. I had no goals, no motivation, and no desire to be anything other than normal. Something was missing.

It’s actually an embarrassing story as to how I began to love music. The first time I heard Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, something changed. I don’t know if it was the “rah rah’s” or the “ah ah’s” but from that moment, the idea of playing piano, joining musicals, and singing in choirs ran through my mind. By the end of the eighth grade, I was the lead of the musical, a member of my school’s senior and jazz band, and sang in the school’s choir. There was a confidence about me that people noticed, and I knew in my mind that this was me. I knew that this side of me is who I am, and who I want to be.

There was a time however when I felt that music wasn’t enough. That I had reached my point of confidence and it couldn’t support me through the point of time in which it was the darkest yet. My mother, who told me that “being gay is what gets people beaten in school” wasn’t what scared me. It was the thought of people hating me. But music got me through it. With music, I felt like I was part of a family that loved me for who I was. I feel this way even now, running my high school’s show choir without a dime of funding. Because music doesn’t require money. It doesn’t require you to look a certain way, or love a certain gender, or be a certain race, or follow a certain religion. It requires you. Even if everyone turns their back on you, music will be there. And had I realized this great, overwhelming truth when I did, I’m not sure if I’d be alive right now to write this in my basement, Chopin playing quietly on my iPod. So my question is: how haven’t the arts changed my life?

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