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Love Within

Dianne Uribe

The reason why I became an advocate for healthy relationships was because I would see my friends in verbally, and physically abusive relationships and I wanted to do my part to stop it. Here's the story that brought me to that realization.

In high school, one of my female friends had this boyfriend that loved to party, loved to do drugs, and just be out with his friends all night long. Whenever they would hang out he was on some type of drug, so she was always uncomfortable. Many of her friends told her to leave him because if she didn't feel comfortable, then why stay? But, her response was always "I care for him."

When they would hang out around us he never showed that he cared for her, he would grab her arm very hard, he'd call her harsh names, and basically just disrespected her. Her male friends would get mad at her because she stayed in the relationship, and those same male friends would talk to him and ask him why he disrespected her. His response to them was, "I buy her things, I tell her I love her, and I hang out with her. I don't know how I disrespect her?" You know the term "actions speak louder than words?" Well to her, it wasn't that. She thought that because her boyfriend bought her things, told her he loved her, and hung out with her that he cared for her the same way she cared for him.

When someone treats you like that, it's hard to remember to love yourself and realize your value. No one should be disrespected the way that he disrespected her. This kind of behavior went on for a while in their relationship before that truth began to click; unfortunately, it was because her boyfriend hit her. He punched her in the arm, held her in a head lock, and pushed her as she tried to walk away. When she tried to tell someone what happened, their responses were "He plays around like that", and "You know how he is." My friend knew in that moment that the only person that was going to stick up for her was herself.

She had to learn to truly love herself to be able to realize her worth and let her boyfriend know that what he was doing to her wasn't okay. So, she did. She left him because she knew she couldn't deal with being treated like that anymore and she did not deserve it. He tried to come back and get her back multiple times, but she knew she would never step into that relationship again.

My friend learned how to love herself first, and this message is extremely important for me to share. In order to be able to grow in a healthy way, know what is healthy for you, and know your worth. You must love yourself. One of the ways I spread this message is through art. I think art is a powerful way to spread a message because the abstract and the color catches peoples' eyes. When they look into the art piece and look at the title they want to know the story behind it, which gets them interested in the true meaning of the piece. Art is important to me because instead of having to write out the way I feel, I can draw it out and make the whole piece express my message. I also like to use color to bring out emotion, whether it's in the cold or warm color category, I can express that feeling in a subtle way. Art is a way for me to express emotion and tell a story at the same time, sometimes words are hard to share, but for me drawing it out comes easy.

I designed a shirt for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The shirt has a drawing of a mandala on it and it says, "Love Within". In the center of the mandala is where all the lines connect. The center represents myself and the love that I have for myself. Self-love allows me to accomplish and reach many goals; which is represented by the extending lines. I believe everything is better and healthier for you if you love yourself first and know your worth in everything. I continue to use my art to promote healthy messages; I even created my own Instagram page and I am happy to see my friends joining me in talking about the importance of my work for Break the Cycle.

Photo by: Beto Soto
Makeup by: Macy's Bobbi Brown
Email: Instagram: @deeuribe_art