Discovering Alexandra Urosevic
Alexandra Urosevic is a self-taught visual artist whose work is driven primarily by emotion and the therapeutic nature of creative expression. She transforms dark moments into beautiful images, exploring her emotions through colour and movement. Having struggled with mental illness personally, she is a strong advocate for art as a therapy and aims to inspire others dealing with their own hurdles in creative self-expression.
Before finding peace in art, much of Alexandra’s time was dedicated to sports, more specifically basketball. The influence of sports in the first half of her life is unparalleled; sports were everything to her growing up. With a small legacy of greatness left behind by her father and uncle in her hometown, she aimed to live up to these expectations. This resulted in a feeling of worthlessness when she performed poorly, and the irrational fear that she wouldn’t be loved if she failed. Basketball seemed to be everything until it wasn’t. It was only when she started excelling in other things outside of basketball that she started mending relationships and escaped this sense of worthlessness.
“Support is necessary, but if you don’t like your reflection at the end of the day, someone else’s love is not going to make you feel any better”
The basketball court was a safe space growing up, where she could escape the dark realities of middle school and high school. The court was a place she felt like she belonged. Things turned for the worst in university, during her days as a varsity student athlete at Laurier University - from being unable to form any stable relationships with her teammates, followed by an insatiable need to be the best on the team, to feeling hated by her coach. If she played well, it was praise and glory, if not, it was as if she didn’t exist and all she heard was negativity. She wasn’t connecting with who she was on the court anymore, and quitting was the only answer. Once she stopped playing, every problem that basketball had masked exploded in her face. Suicidal thoughts stormed her mind, and the search to feel loved consumed her. It took her almost ten years to finally feel self-worth and value beyond the court.
After basketball, she took an unhealthy approach to exercise. She went from an athlete trying to gain muscle, to a nobody trying to lose every part of her. It was an odd sense of worthlessness when she worked out her whole life to excel at a sport and then suddenly entered the gym for the first time to train for nothing specifically, just for health purposes; and she didn’t understand how to do that. By the end of her undergrad at Laurier, she had full-blown anorexia, and could barely leave the house to go to class. It’s taken her a long time to get to a mental headspace where she can workout without thinking about food consumption or watching the calorie count on the cardio machine.
“Yes, I want to win, but not at the cost of anyone’s mental health”
Although Alexandra no longer plays basketball, she is involved from the sidelines. As a teacher and a coach, she prides herself on being personable and accessible to her student athletes - win or lose. Her experience has given her a unique approach to the game, in that she is very in tune with how each player is feeling at each practice and on game day. She believes it really comes down to communication. She aims to relieve the stigma that if you don’t push through it, you’re not worth anything. Self-worth should not hinge on how well you play a sport.