“Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.”
Here in the UK, we have to decide on the exams we take at the end of High School when we’re about 13. Some exams are mandatory like maths and English, but most you can choose.
I remember very clearly the interview I had with the deputy headmistress, who interviewed everyone in the year about their exam choices, about the subject I wanted to continue to study. I wanted to take physics, design and technology, graphic design and art, along with maths, English, English Lit, French and German.
After the interview I still had the latter subjects on my timetable, but she had convinced me that there were much more sensible options to take. So I spent the next 2 years studying business, IT, tourism and biology. With hindsight, I assume there was some type of bonus for the school to offer these ‘new’ subjects (back in the 1980s they were new) as most of my friends ended up studying more ‘sensible’ subjects too.
Anyway, for two years, I watched my artistic friends carry about their artwork and relish the time they got to spend in the art room. While they created, I learnt how to type, slowly, on a manual typewriter, found out how the stock market worked and had to dissect bits of animals. The only sensible subject I enjoyed was tourism. But, I’d learnt that creative pursuits were, apparently, not for me so I carried on studying business and IT at college until my early 20s. It bored me to tears.
I often wonder what path my life would have taken if I’d not been intimidated into changing my exam options. Life’s too short for regrets, but still there’s a 14 year old artist waiting to get out. But the mature, older me rarely lets her because I suffer from a big case of ‘not feeling good enough’. Usually I stick to digital art and photography because it’s precise and familiar.
This weekend I finally, after a very, very long time, let the artist out to play a little and paint.
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