Nikita Fils-Aimé

Human beings are metaphysically composed of three things: love, fear and hope. In my life, these three staples of human society have guided, consoled and pushed me out of my comfort zone. They have allowed me to view life from a mature and compassionate lens.

I was born in 2001 and raised single handedly by my father since I was two. I was able to see my mother and half siblings every other weekend. By the time I was eight, my Stepfather had grown to dislike me, and told my mother that he did not want me in their house.  I would write the mean things he would say to me in my journal and read them to my first grade teacher; meetings were set up with my Dad and I was removed from the house. The court decided I would only see my Mom every other Saturday from 11 to 5 and that I was not allowed at her house. My Mom came to see me less and less, until she did not come at all. I later found out my Stepfather did not want her to see me. I was placed in therapy several times, and my Dad went to court in order to make her agree to visitation.

Years went on and then I was hospitalized for three months the summer after my sophomore year.  I befriended a girl who was fourteen and Anorexic at the hospital; she had a love for ballet but on account of her condition she was not allowed to exercise. We would stay up past midnight talking about our lives, and our dreams and I have never met someone so strong or passionate. She taught me that hope can never be breached due to it stemming from within.  I also met a boy with blood cancer who had a heart of gold. His utter kindness, despite his situation, inspired me to remain positive and keep moving forward. I found my peace of mind in between brush strokes and sketch pads, and discovered a new devotion for painting. I found the conscientious care needed to sketch the human face captivating and it allowed me to distract myself. The painting was the most exciting and frustrating part because one could hardly ever erase a mistake, but: “there are no mistakes in art.”

During my stay at the hospital I was offered several times to transfer schools in order to have a fresh slate and an easier academic schedule, I refused. I was determined to get better and overcome my adversity. That is exactly what I did, and continued on to excel in my academics. I also now have a stronger bond with both of my parents and although my life hasn’t been the easiest, I am grateful for where it has lead me so far.