My name is Samantha Pletcher and I am an artist. That statement would have been so hard for me to speak confidently even a year and a half ago. I’ve been painting and creating art in a constant and consistent manner for about five years, so I have obviously been an artist for longer than I have portrayed myself as such. If I’m feeling particularly confident, I could say that I’ve been an artist my whole life and it has manifested itself in many varying forms over the years before I truly caught onto it. Why does it feel so weird to say you are an artist? Sometimes when I tell people what I do, it seems like more of an admission than a statement, as if it’s a secret I’ve been hiding. There is a bit of judgement that surrounds the idea of being an artist, which isn’t uncommon in other career fields. Stereotypically, lawyers can be portrayed as bossy liars, musicians as demanding divas, and artists as starving snobs. On an individual basis, these characteristics are so rarely true. Everyone endures being misunderstood or misconstrued; artists are not alone. Artists are such a different profession because their pain is so frequently visible. The suffering of an artist is often on display, where other professions must hide it.  I couldn’t tell you what is better or healthier, but I am definitely better and healthier since becoming an artist. But that’s also because being an artist requires regular reflection of yourself and the world.