This story was written by Lauren Mills, a young artist with a special story and gift from God.
My name is Lauren Mills and I am 14 years old. I attend Peterson-Warren Academy in Inkster, MI and I’m a sophomore in high school. I was asked to share my story and my special gift. I have and was born with nystagmus, which is constant involuntary eye movement and I also have astigmatism and albinism in my eyes. Because of this condition, I am legally blind. To deal medically with my conditions, I had surgery on my eyes when I was 2 years old. It has been a difficult road in trying to gain some type of vision. Since the surgery, I’ve had two pairs of glasses and a pair of contacts. Throughout my life I never wore the glasses much because they didn’t really help my vision. It was like wearing magnifying glasses, which was difficult and frustrating. My vision was the same with and without them, so I stopped wearing them since they didn’t help. I recently got contacts instead and they help me so much! They upped my vision from 20/80 to 20/70. The difficult part about this, however, is I have hard contact lenses and they scratch my eyes. That makes it very hard to wear them on a daily basis, so at times I contemplate I switching back to glasses. Because of the vision difficulties, I read things very closely, I sit at the front of every class, I get weird headaches, I have bad balance, and I probably won’t be able to drive. Despite these frustrating challenges I haven’t allowed any of this to hold me back.
You can probably imagine that I faced some ridicule from my peers. I was bullied for a very long time. I’d say I was the most “different” kid in all of my classes. I’m African American with very fair skin and blonde hair, so I was called “white”. I was called “fat”, “ugly”, “blind” and many more unkind things. I was really sensitive so I just cried a lot and my self-esteem dropped significantly as a result of being bullied from Pre-K to 8th grade. I recently rebuilt my confidence so when people are unkind now, I pay it no mind. I have learned to love myself and embrace the gift God has given me. It has been an interesting journey.
Although I have difficulties with my vision, I have a talent in artistry. I have been recognized a lot in my community for my paintings and portraits. With being recognized for my art worldwide, I show people that having bad vision isn’t all bad and that despite whatever disability you may have, you can still be used by God.
More about Lauren
Lauren started her own brand called Artologi where she features her work, shares her story and empowers others. Her bio from Atrologi reads:
Mills got her artistic start “…when she was old enough to hold a crayon” her grandmother would say. Lauren’s family and those around her noticed her natural talent and nurtued it. Art has always been her first love. She drew and sketched until she was 11 years old, then started painting.. Mills has had no classical training up until the summer of 2014. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
In the year 2010, Lauren created Artologi. It is the name of her company and what she calls her art. She created Artologi to be an organization that seeks to empower and free people through art. This is because artistically materializing your imagination tends to be very theraputic. Since the birth of Artologi, Lauren has been featured on two local and many other news publications such as: The Huffigton Post, WXYZ News, The Ann Arbor News, The Ypsilanti Courier, Inagist, Get Schooled, Muck Rack, Tween Tribune and a publication located in Spain. She was given the NAACP Youth Achievement Award. She’s been featured at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI and has been a featured artist in a few other galleries. One of those galleries was for the organization “Allies for Disabilities”.
Lauren’s work has been featured at church and school events, community art festivals and various other events. She was awarded the NAACP Youth Achievement Award for community service, leadership and excellence academic achievement. She was also featured in the Huffington Post Teen and The Ypsilanti Courier and was recognized via Twitter by Katie Couric for her amazing talent. She was also featured on local ABC Channel 7 News in Detroit, MI where she was able to share more of her story and journey as an artist. She has shared some of her amazing work with us…
Lauren’s Business Info:
I must say that I am amazed by Lauren’s talent! She is truly an “artist with a twist” because she is like none other. Hearing that she is legally blind you would never imagine that she had such an artist gift. Lauren is family, my husband’s cousin, and this artistic talent is definitely something I’ve seen within their family. It’s just amazing at what God can do through you despite your disability and also despite what others may say about you. Lauren didn’t allow the negativity from others hold her back from doing what God has called her to do. I can’t wait to see where her gift takes her and the many things in store for her.
Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your story and your talent with us and thank you for inspiring others to live out their dreams and not allow anything to stand in the way. You are a great inspiration to us all!
Until next time…