Sophomore creates art to cope with social anxiety

Sophomore+Karmani+Williams+works+on+editing+for+the+school+yearbook.+Williams+enjoys+all+forms+of+creative+expression%2C+whether+through+school+or+in+her+free+time.

Photo by Zoe Naylor

Sophomore Karmani Williams works on editing for the school yearbook. Williams enjoys all forms of creative expression, whether through school or in her free time.

Zoe Naylor, News Editor

It’s Show-and-Tell day at school and 8-year old Karmani Williams has brought something special to share: a stuffed parrot she sewed herself. She created it with the help of her grandmother, a tailor, and the parrot quickly became one of her most treasured items. Williams still keeps the tattered bird for sentimental reasons. 

“It was blue, red and yellow and green and had yellow eyes. It was like a dysfunctional Coraline doll,” said Williams.

Art plays a very important role in sophomore Karmani Williams’s life. She creates art in her free time as an outlet for her social anxiety. 

“Last night I painted my phone case because I got bored,” said Williams.

The case is painted a rusty brown with a pair of lips sucking on a lollipop and the words “Cherry Pop” done in colored pencil. Her previous bright yellow paint job pokes through the current color scheme.

Williams describes her art as “weird stuff.” She feels that her art falls into the realm of the abstract. When making art, she enjoys experimenting with different techniques and even mixing her own colors.

“I try to use as little white as possible; it’s fun but really hard,” said Williams.

Even when not making art, it has a way of bleeding into Williams’s day-to-day life.

“Like this! I have white paint all over my pants. I’ll just look down and see drops of paint,” said Williams, pointing to her pants.

Williams will occasionally sell her art, but she maintained that she makes art for herself. Her art is not for showing off; it’s personal. 

“They’re not for flexing,” said Williams. 

Williams is very open about her struggle with social anxiety. As a member of the yearbook staff, Williams must conduct interviews regularly for class, but she often has difficulties with talking to strangers.

“I’m in therapy for social anxiety,” said Williams.

Regarding the prospect of approaching strangers, “I get intimidated by people,” said Williams.

This is where art serves as an outlet. 

“That’s what I like about art, I don’t have to talk to people,” said Williams. “I can just be in my own little space. I don’t ever feel like I’m pressured to do It. That’s why I don’t take art classes anymore, I feel pressured to do it for a grade.”

Art is known to have many therapeutic properties. According to the article “Creativity and Recovery: The Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy,” from Resources to Recover, an organization that provides access to mental health services, art therapy can be beneficial in treating depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress. It allows people to improve their self-esteem, manage their stress, and process their emotions. 

Williams has found her release through painting, tailoring, and even in the way she does her nails, black and white stripes with green and purple accents, like Beetlejuice, for Halloween. 

“Creativity is hard to come by these days ‘cause society tries to put us in a box: if you step outside the box you’re weird or creepy. That’s why I like to do clothes and hair and stuff,” said Williams.