Chloe's Story "Doors"

"Helen Keller once said,  'When one door closes, another door opens. But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.' I can’t remember the first time I heard that quote, perhaps in a book or on an inspirational photo, but what I do recall, is how exactly it applied to my life."

Stepping out of the cramped back seat of my friends family car, I looked up at my dark house, cast in shadows on that star filled night. My fourth grade friends and I had just finished graduating to junior Girl Scouts. After spending months completing our requirements, the hard work had finally paid off at a ceremony held right before a softball game. I remember the smiling faces of families beaming down at us. None of those many families, however, were mine. The game lasted late into the evening, and we finished our day of celebration by stopping at Braum’s for an ice cream cone.

Now back to that dark house. The first thing I noticed was an empty drive way, and the disheartening skid marks. Waving goodbye to my friend and her smiling mother, I turned, taking cautious steps to the front door. A deepening gloom surrounded me as reality set in. My step dad was sprawled out in my parents room, fallen from a crash of illicit narcotics and cheap Yellowstone Whiskey. My mother was gone, probably not to be seen for many more dark nights. My siblings, all younger, were nowhere around, except for the youngest. My brother was screaming in a corner of the dingy living room as snot swirled with salty bitter tears made tracks down his dirty red face. I shut the door. No one wanted to hear about my wonderful day.

Flash forward four more years, as another door was once again shut. Never once did I think that the closing door to my school counselors office filled with Police officers, my eighth grade teachers and a few social workers, would open to a life of possibilities that I had never thought to dream of before. Though the foster care system doesn't have a spotless history, it did bring light to my home life. Now, many years after that school room meeting, the door is opening for me once again.

I refuse to be called a victim. I know that what I lived through was an injustice, but I see it as a blessing. Never in my life had I been through any trial that forced me to be my strongest, to grow up and set aside childhood. Going into foster care, I learned independence and gained a strong drive to be better, to be accomplished and make my own way.  I’ve also had so much help in these last few years. One source of strength came from my favorite teacher and friend, Mrs. Bruton. Never had I been pushed harder or been more challenged than the moment I first stepped into her art room. I have discovered that it’s most important to surround yourself with the type of people who will always support you but who will also push you and do what it takes to make you better. Living in a dysfunctional home, I mastered the term “facade”. No one, but myself, knew what lurked behind that door. I made sure of that. At school I was just another good student, participating in school clubs, always earning A’s, and having a circle of friends to laugh and smile with, always in control. Wiping that plastic smile off, now is the time that my art begins to show the real me.


My senior year of highschool I knew exactly which two schools I was meant for. Either the Kansas City Art Institute or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was accepted into both on scholarship and initially chose the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  However a few weeks before I was scheduled to leave for Chicago, I was received a phone call from the Kansas City Art Institute. They offered me a blessing -  scholarships that drastically lowered my cost and any kind of loans I previously would have needed.  Now I am finishing my first week at KCAI, knowing that this beautiful school is where I need to be. So, like Helen Keller said, I have to see the door that's been opened for me. This time, however, I'm facing that door head on, and I will parade through it."








So why do I want to create art? Simply put, I want to create something beautiful, but I want something completely honest, and wholeheartedly truthful. Something I openly am not. Living in a dysfunctional home, I mastered the term “facade”. No one, but myself, knew what lurked behind that door. I made sure of that. At school I was just another good student, participating in school clubs, always earning A’s, and having a circle of friends to laugh and smile with, always in control. Wiping that plastic smile off, now is the time that my art begins to show the real me. To make my art meaningful I've had to come to terms with my own childhood.

My senior year of highschool I knew exactly which two schools I was meant for. Either the Kansas City Art Institute or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was accepted into both on scholarship and initially chose the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  However a few weeks before I was scheduled to leave for Chicago, I was received a phone call from the Kansas City Art Institute. They offered me a blessing -  scholarships that drastically lowered my cost and any kind of loans I previously would have needed.  Now I am finishing my first week at KCAI, knowing that this beautiful school is where I was meant to be. So, like Helen Keller said, I have to see the door that's been opened for me. This time, however, I'm facing that door head on, and I will parade through it.