Here we are, nearing the end of Spring. I’m glad that I’ve finally sat down to write this because it’s been swimming around in my head for a while now and it’s time to let it go.
For me, the last year has been what can only be described as transformational.
I could sense a change was about to occur. You know… that sense of foreboding. It was only a matter of time before the universe stepped in; and there it was, the tower moment. And my life as I knew it was over.
I became a single mother of an 8-month-old, returning to work as a paralegal for a law firm in Belfast.
I did what any “normal” person would do, which was continue on like nothing had happened. To be honest, I didn’t cry much. I didn’t even want to drown my sorrows. I’m so passed all that. I wanted to remember who I really was; I wanted to create.
I felt compelled to rediscover a love for art that had long been suppressed.
I have always loved art. I can frequently be found lingering around galleries, studying the pieces, lost in my own world… like a right weirdo. I see the beauty in everything, but I have ignored my own passion to paint for a very long time.
I foolishly had a short-lived fling with additional maths in school as an ego driven pursuit which I soon realised I had no interest in and was not capable of achieving. Why didn’t I just pick the class that I was good at? I begged my art teacher to let me join his class. I had painted a range of different things in the sketchpad; one which sticks out in my mind was a chameleon.
He held up the sketchpad carelessly flicking through the pages, “So, you think this is good enough? It’s far from good enough. The answer is no”; and so, I stopped painting.
I don’t blame him for not wanting me in his class. Back then I was a bit of a rebel without a cause, also known as, a bit of a dick. He didn't need some smart arse niggling him when he could just chill out with all his lovely cooperative pupils. It‘s understandable. I wasn’t shit at art; I was just disruptive.
Nevertheless, I channeled my creativity into various other projects, music mostly. I was pretty successful in certain areas, made some money, enjoyed it. I did other things; crafting, home décor, upcycling, cake baking, sewing, embroidery, ornate creations from sheet music, crochet taxidermy, pottery, every other craft known to man basically.
Anything else you could think of I could turn my hand to; but the art was always there, lurking. It was always painting that really sparked my passion.
I wanted nothing more than to stick my music on, mix my paints and fully immerse myself in whatever flowed through me onto the canvas. I have never been a sit down and map everything out type of person, I have always been a surge of energy waiting to erupt into whatever manifested within that moment. Spontaneous, or unpredictable, depending on your perspective.
And so, it was Summer 2018, and here I was taking a long hard look at myself, who I had become and who I actually was inside. I knew I would never be happy resting on my laurels. I knew I had to change and do something.
So, I took a 6-week art class; oil painting. Perfect.
I got my supplies and off I went to class. I was tempted to wear a beret, but I didn’t. However, I did wear my DM boots, but then, I always wear those. They make me feel strong.
It was essentially a methodical approach. I thought, “This will get me back in, this will teach me the techniques. Maybe this is what I’ve been missing all along”. Maybe, it’s not too late.
So, I attended what can only be described as a painting by numbers sort of show, which is cool if that’s what you’re after. You sketch, you grid, you layer, you set your colours side by side, only then do you begin to blend… slowly, easy does it.
It felt quite unnatural to be honest. I knew what I was thinking of was a much different experience. Number one on my list was that it needed to be fun because I had enough other shit going on in my life that wasn’t exactly at the top of my list of passions.
I also thought I caught the teacher giving me a touch of the old stink eye on a couple of occasions. She seemed to flit around all the others in the class and leave me until last. I thought to myself, “What’s her game?” Maybe, she could sense my rebellious aura, as I tried with great difficulty to follow her methodical instructions. I try my best to contain it but it’s always there just bubbling ever so slightly below the surface.
I didn’t mind that she ignored me though. Nor, did I care what her game was. It was 3 hours a week where I could literally zen out and escape reality. Plus, I have a track record with art teachers, so I thought maybe I was just imagining it.
Without me even realising it, she had given me a gift; she made me focus. Without interruption, without chatting, without even thinking, just doing. At the end of the last class, she finally approached me, scanned over my painting and said, “You’re a bit of a natural, but then, you already know that”. I did know that, somewhere very far within me, I knew. I had just forgotten.
And then I remembered the chameleon; and like the chameleon, I’m not afraid to change.
Don't be afraid to start over, it's a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want.
You are only limited by your own limitations.
Why are we so inherently afraid of change? Do you listen to your intuition? What fears have you conquered recently?
I would love to hear from you.
Let me know in the comments below.