One fact about me. I’m kind of old. Not “visiting a garden centre on a Tuesday to get my 10% discount” old, but old enough to have been a kid when the Beatles were still recording, old enough to remember moon landings, and old enough to fall in love with a Thunderbird. Scott Tracey - don’t judge me, he lived on an island, I was willing to ignore the strings... So, when I was at school, all the kids wanted to be pop stars, astronauts, and superheroes, me, I wanted to be an artist. I was seven. I did a whole project about it, illustrated, of course.
Fast forward fifteen years. I’ve just graduated from art college. I walked out with a poor degree, at the peak of Thatcherism, my confidence at an all time low, a fine art degree did not have employers beating my door down. So I got a job in a supermarket, put down my pencils, and didn’t pick them up again for thirty years. Sure, I still created things, I did crafts, knitting, sewing, and I made an entire other human being, but I stopped drawing. I couldn’t do it anymore, because of the fear.
For me the fear goes something like this “That’s crap. What even is it anyway?” “See (insert name of any other artist, dead or alive) look at their work, now that’s art” “No one in their right mind would want that on their wall!” “FFS! You’re doing it all wrong!” I hear it in my head, but it sounds like my college tutors.
I started drawing again in 2015. Pulled back to it by seeing other artists showing their work on Tumblr, and having a gaping hole to fill in my life. A year later, through the miracle of the Internet, I made a friend who encouraged me, and eventually I posted some stuff, and people said nice things, mostly. Something still felt off, though I didn’t know what. Then, in 2017, walking across a bridge in New York, with the same friend, I said “Whatever happened to that young girl?” and just as if speaking those words out loud could summon magic, the universe somehow heard, and within a few months I had changed my entire life and my stars.
The first time I introduced myself, to a stranger, as an artist, was Friday 25th May 2018. I was with another friend, and she hugged me super tight. I don’t think I cried, but I wanted to. I’d started healing.
“I really believe healing is just coming back to the you that you were before the world told you to be someone else.”
Do you remember what you wanted to be, before life got in the way? Perhaps you could try again. Sure, if you wanted to be an Olympic figure skater, then maybe you’ll never reach that particular goal, but surely putting your skates on again might help you to remember your joy. Stay safe. Do what you love. Heal.