This I Believe: My Art of Loyalty

Jaeger Bowen on a sailboat. (Photo/Jaeger Bowen)

Jaeger Bowen on a sailboat. (Photo/Jaeger Bowen)

Jaeger Bowen, AP Language and Composition Student

I believe loyalty is the cornerstone of how I view the individuals and relationships around me. It changes my perception of others, myself, and even the world around me. It paints the people I meet, the exchanges I have, and the relationships I build with vibrant, primary colors of positive emotions and sentiment. From loyalty stems a comprehensive plethora of virtues; colors on my pallet that, when mixed and blended, contribute to the wonderful masterpieces of relationships, painted for myself to share with others. A step in loyalty gives every interaction I have in life a canvas to paint on and allows me to appreciate the connections I make, shaping the way in which I perceive the abstract environment around me.

Loyalty within any relationship I have with another person demonstrates that they find me personally important and significant. They trust me. They appreciate me. They value me and the connection we share beyond seeing each other in passing. When a friend or family member asks to spend time with me out of their busy lives, I feel special, cared for, and loved. Cheerful feelings such as happiness, joy, and gratitude splash onto the canvas as warm colors of red, yellows, and oranges. If I’m having a challenging day, having a friend sit with me away from the usual crowd mixes cool colors of respect, gratitude, and admiration, into the portrait. These pigments of emotions swirl about and interact to form a magnum opus of wonder and kinship. Out of an act of loyalty stems the most vibrant paintings.

Among the most personal and vital portraits I’ve painted has been the one of myself. Self-loyalty is a central piece in my gallery and recenters me in upsetting times. Staying true to myself, my hobbies, my passions, and who I am keeps me in a good headspace. Returning to the woods to take pictures of mushrooms, hiking Mt. Mansfield, and even making my bed the same way every morning all keep me grounded and remind me of who I am to myself loyally. These apply layers to the painted landscape, defining the image and increasing the vibrancy of the colors that make up me. Setting personal goals for myself like lifting weights every day, eating healthy, and spending a piece of time to focus on my faith add more scenery to faded, dull spots.

Without this significant and often unnoticed trait, my world falls to pieces. A lack of trust and faith forms between me and others. I undermine and lose belief in myself. My daily surroundings have a potent grey hue of suspicion and edge. My gallery of works goes up in flames as the canvas disappears. I believe that loyalty is the indispensable maquette for the relationships I build with others and the sketch upon which they are built. With its unwavering devotion and steadfast bond, loyalty has the power to launch into a rainbow of emotions, forever etching its mark on the artist’s heart who paints with it.