Abstract Amanda

Story by Amanda Hackleman, viewpoint editor

“Oh my gosh. Why are you so…abstract?”

I remember those words very clearly. Those hurtful, shameful words that poured out of my cousin’s mouth like poison from the fangs of a viper. I remember it was accompanied with the other biting remarks about my weirdness, my outspokenness, and just my personality that’s so different from anyone else in my family. It hurt. I’ve always considered myself to have a tough outer shell, but her words actually broke through this time. Of course, I just smiled and said, “I’m just different. What’s wrong with that?” What is wrong with that, though?

After that particularly torturous family get together, I went home and seriously thought about that. Why was I the one who was always different? Why couldn’t I just be like everyone else? Why did I have to be abstract. So, with a heavy heart I quickly ran into the living room and opened the large dictionary my paw paw kept on his table and looked up the word abstract.

Abstract: existing in thought or as an idea, but not having a physical or concrete existence

This was the insult my cousin had dreamed up for me. So, basically she told me I didn’t exist. I slowly trudged back to my bedroom, that thought nagging at the corner of my mind. I eventually fell asleep with that still haunting me. And it didn’t stop while I slept.

That word infected my dreams. I thought I’d never escape it. For weeks, I’d wake up after having nightmares about people screaming that at me. “Abstract Amanda!” They taunted me. In real life, no one ever called me that. My cousin probably didn’t even remember saying it. But in my mind, it was the worst possible punishment for being so odd.

Then, my views changed. While browsing the internet, researching art styles for class, I stumbled across a particular form of art that really changed my mind about that awful word. It was abstract art. I looked through the images on the website I had found. There were bright paintings, dark pieces, and even sculptures of unidentifiable objects straight from the artist’s mind. And they were all beautiful. Every single one of them.

They were different. No two were even similar. But at the same time, their uniqueness unified them. They didn’t form identifiable pictures or convey some big, obvious message, but each could be translated however you want. Everyone could get something different from each piece. Each person could be helped in a different way. And that was the most beautiful part of all.

As I was looking through this abstract art, it hit me. I was abstract. I was different. I was made that way by some higher power. I was designed for the special purpose of helping people through my uniqueness. And so was everyone else in the world. Some people were just more put together and obvious than others.

Now, when people ask me to describe myself, I don’t go for the stereotypical, amazing, smart, funny, or anything along those lines. I just smile my widest smile, look them dead in the eye and say with pride, “I’m just Abstract Amanda.”