A. Crystals

Meet ShaCrysta Armonie, also known by her creative alias A. Crystals, who opens with us on how she's leaning into her creativity to express and bring her full self into the New Year.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My full name is ShaCrysta Armonie McCoy also known as "Crysta" for short. Growing up, people always got my name wrong so I would end up going by "Crysta" more than ShaCrysta. Funny thing is I never share my middle name and even though people would ask, I would not say it and kept it very personal. I was shy as a child, so as I grew up and began to express myself, I began to go by "Armonie Crystals” or “A.Crystals" as my creative name. I thought it was so beautiful, after all a lady loves her diamonds. 

2. What about yourself are you bringing into 2019?

This New Year means a lot to me because 2018 was my year of really opening up, and I want to do just that. I enjoy many forms of art, however I am a poet first. I have never ever shared my art publicly until this year; I realize it helps others in their day to day lives just as it helps me and the response so far has been phenomenal! This helped me realize a bigger purpose, and I  want to open up and show the world all of the love, unity, and strength I feel through my creative expression and hopefully it can help even more.

3. How do you celebrate YOU? How will you love yourself unapologetically?

I will first celebrate me, by being me to the fullest capacity. Every time I write and paint, it has always felt so right growing up, but I was always afraid of how others would view and interpret my art. I had to conquer that fear and now I have shared my art, it feels wonderful because now I feel like I am becoming the woman entirely I am meant to be. I feel whole, and I feel free, I am happy and fulfilled. Most of all, I know it’s only because I allowed myself to be free and become every woman old or new that I see in me. As the late great Maya Angelou expressed best, "I am a phenomenal woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman, that's me" and I have healed that in my heart ever since I was six years old, knowing one day I can be a phenomenal woman. I know I could never meet her, but knowing her spirit is watching over us is enough.

I will love myself unapologetically by not holding back anymore. I have learned first hand that it is so important to share positivity! If you see someone in traffic wish them good rising, see someone feeling down wish them happiness, give a hug. It does or anything materialistic, pure love will do the job just fine. I believe we just don't love each other or ourselves enough unapologetically and unconditionally. I grew up in a small country town of Plain Dealing, Louisiana around a family who love and always supported me in everything I chose to do. My mom never let me give up on anything I started. If I chose to do something, I had to do it to the best of my ability and not give up. I have to forever thank her for that because it is because of that I became the woman I am today. My dream has always been to help others! My grandmother was very sick during my growing years - from lupus, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, strokes you name it - she conquered it and never complained about anything when most times she felt the pain of everything. I met countless doctors and nurses during her hospital and home-visit and because of this, I wanted to grow up and do just that. Now I am currently a medical student and working in my field, I've had some hangups through school, but I refuse to give up.  Working in my field I had the pleasure of taking care of the late great Beverly Bryant, a magnificent and inspirational artist with whom I shared a common love for art. however, at the time of my first meeting her, I wouldn't think of showing anyone. She would always draw and color and tell me stories of how she lived and experienced life and love. One day she didn't want to draw and this was unusual. I try to maintain interaction with all my residents to help them to have good days. I went home and painted a painting I called, "She is Her" and I took it to work and showed it to her. That was the first moment I realized the true gift of artistic expression. The way her face and body lit up as if life came back to her brought tears to my eyes and she loved it. She began to tell me ways and things I can do to improve and encouraged me to go home and bring her more art. From that day she said, "allow me to be your art mentor, all you need is a little guidance." every day for the next six months, I did just that. I would take time and sit with her and allow her to show me things and different techniques. I began to get better and better everyday outside of what I had already taught myself. She always spoke about taking me to her art studio and although we could never go, the excitement and inspiration she received from teaching me were enough for me. She made me promise I would share it with others, so I went to Facebook and made an art page "A. Crystals True Art" and made a group called "True Connect" to allow all artist from all walks of life to join and share their art no matter how big or small, hoping that we can all inspire each other. It has had a slow start so far, but I am a firm believer that everything has to start somewhere and I have been sharing ever since. I choose to love myself unapologetically going into 2019 by sharing all I have to offer no matter how big or small, even a smile can heal a heart! 

4. How do you transmit what you love most about yourself to others?

I transmit what I love most about myself to others by living my own life in my own example the best I can and allow others to do the same. I have realized so far that it's good to just allow yourself to be open. Don't let it all hang out, but be welcoming is better. A lot of people fear what they don't understand, so I try to live by my own views and allow others to come to me and communicate as they see fit. I try to help others when I can, even if I don't have anything tangible to offer. I learned growing up that people don't like you to tell them anything, but they like to feel as if they are learning nonetheless. So I choose to live as best I can in a positive light in hopes others will see the power of just being peaceful and sharing in loving of others. Many times individuals have asked me "ShaCrysta, why are you so happy all of the time?" I respond and ask "why aren't you?" because this is important. So many people are so unhappy themselves that they are offended by other people's happiness. I may only be one person, but I believe that if I can do at least two things every day to help someone be happy that is still change in the right direction. I lived so much of my life being shy because of what others feel and I refuse to sit and see anyone else In any sort! When I express my love or allow the world to be my canvas, it isn't just art, crafts, or fun doodads I like - I mean just that, allow the world to be a canvas because the happiness I feel despite life troubles, it's grand enough for all hearts to feel. If nothing else is understood from life, I hope others can understand that it's okay to be you, not the you others want you to be! But, this you, the true you.