There are many people in my life who gave me inspiration, encouragement, support and love while I was on my journey to find confidence in myself to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher and start teaching.
My young friend Hana is someone who has always been special to me, and unknowingly she gave me the extra push that I needed. I met her on her first day into this world, and she has special place in my heart ever since.
About three and half years ago, she was diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma, a type of slow-growing brain tumor. She underwent surgery, rounds of chemo therapies and of course many tests. She has had more than enough prodding and poking by medical professionals, and now struggles with anxiety.
One day, I was with her family and it was a little stressful situation. I could tell that Hana was trying her best to stay calm. So I decided to pull her aside to a somewhat quiet space and asked her if she wants to learn something I love called Zentangle. She was not really excited about it. I understand that learning something new when you are already feeling stressed seems overwhelming. But she was willing enough to let me start guiding her.
We had a rough beginning because she was already in an agitated state of mind. She was easily frustrated and saying she couldn’t even draw nice shapes that she wanted. I kept reminding her to focus on one stroke at a time and that she doesn’t need to worry about how it will look. As her focus shifted, I could see her shoulders relax and her lines became less shaky. In about 15-20 minutes, she finished her first tile. The sparkle in her eyes was back, and she was very pleased with herself.
This special moment made a deep impression on me. I was on a fence about getting certified as a CZT at that time, but all my doubts disappeared after this experience.
I haven’t seen Hana for several months but I just found out from her mom that she’s tangling on her own using the tangles she learned and taking them to another level. She doesn’t know that what she is doing is called tanglations, but she figured them out on her own. I can’t wait to show her more tangles and see what she will do with them!
Hana recently finished 4th grade and still courageously fighting her battle. You can read her story on Hope for Hana.