I am a firm believer that your past defines your future. It’s simply a matter of choosing how you want it to define you. I honestly don’t believe I’d be who or where I am today if it weren’t for my past. So here it is. At the age of 4, I was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor called craniopharyngioma. The symptoms were first noticed prior to visiting family in Louisiana. I would have head pains so bad that I would sit in the fetal position to try to soothe it.
After the tumor was removed, I was a totally different person. I was happy, I was active, I found joy for art. I remember on my last day of second grade, we were allowed to do whatever we wanted. In it, I found this book of famous paintings, and I tried to recreate Claude Monet’s “Water Lily Pond,” and as soon as I finished my teacher recommended that my mom put me art classes (I was always getting in trouble for drawing anyway, so).
And this passion for drawing came in handy a year or so later, when doctors found that another tumor began to grow. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have drawing, or art in general, to help me cope. I remember going through art therapy afterwards. We made these sculptures where you had to fill this plastic cylinder with a variety of colored sand, and paint a wooden base for it to sit on. I still have it sitting on my desk today.
I was all better again after the tumor was removed, and continued to get in trouble for drawing in class until I got to college where I majored in graphic design. I am a firm believer that your past defines your future. It’s simply a matter of choosing how you want it to define you. I don’t believe I’d be who or where I am today if it weren’t for my past.
Tré Seals is an artist and illustrator living in Portland, OR.