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The Ladder—Charlotte's Self Portrait

The Ladder—Charlotte's Self Portrait

I have several distinct passions, like the separate rungs of a ladder. My project is a ladder, and on each of the four rungs are different items representing an interest I have. One is modeling, one is acting, one is writing, and one is dancing. These aren’t my only interests, but they are my main ones and represent me the best. On the very top of the ladder are a tutu, pointe shoes, and a mask; these represent my love of dance. Below that are a picture portfolio, a composite card, and extremely high heels; these represent my career in modeling. On the next rung down are a monologue, a resume, and a video camera; these objects represent my love of acting. Then, on the final and lowest rung, are a short story that I wrote in fourth grade, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, and an eraser; all of these objects represent my love of writing. There are also deliberately placed names on some of the rungs, corresponding to names I am called when I act and model, or dance, or by my friends and family. The last name on the ladder, Lottie Rose, is not directly related to my love of writing but because I open up when I write, I gave the writing rung the name I am only called by those who I am close to. Please note that, although these objects and names have been placed in a very deliberate order, they were only placed that way because the tutu had to be on top (it was too big for anything else) and I tried to create an order to match what interests connected to each other slightly. This order shows nothing of preference, only practicality.

While I was making this project, I had many setbacks. Originally, I had intended to write a script and turn it into a film, but I encountered writer’s block and expenses. So I turned to my love of dance. I decided that I could choreograph a dance routine, film it, and design a tutu. Then COVID-19 struck, meaning I had absolutely no place to dance. Everything shut down, including all spaces to dance in. So I cried myself to sleep, picked myself up the next morning, and thought about a new project. At this point there was no time or possibility to go out and get materials. I took a look around and gathered any objects I had around my house that represented me. Then I realized that they could all be sorted into four categories: dance, acting, modeling, and writing. I had to think very hard about how to display them, and then one day at lunch my mom and I were laughing at Yoko Ono and her apple on a ladder, and it hit me. I could do something similar. Now I know that seems kind of odd, because I thought that her idea was dumb, but then I had no other ideas and I was stuck with these objects and wanted to display them in an interesting way. I figured that a ladder to represent life’s many steps would work out just fine.

This project represents me because, although most people only see one side of me, I have many. They may be slightly disconnected, hence their being on separate ladder rungs, but overall they’re still part of the same person, the same me. My love of acting and modeling has turned into my career, while dancing and writing are still only passions for me. Acting is so much fun. For me it is an exercise in empathy. Creating characters and emotionally bonding with them is probably my favorite part. I also love to express this bond and portray it in a way that someone else can understand. I feel like dancing and writing are how I take a step out of my head. I can get so involved in what I’m doing I completely forget what’s around me. They are how I express my self, I pour out my emotions into movement or words, creating characters and worlds where I am free.

While creating this project I have learned that I am resilient. I have learned that even when something like a budget or the COVID-19 comes in my way I can redesign the things I do to fit into the guidelines or time frame, or whatever adjustment is needed. In this way, I have become very resilient.