I have some friends are are amazing at encouraging their children in the directions that their desires and talents lay. One is away at his first year of film school and the next will be visiting music business schools in the next several months. How many of you had you expressed to your parents the desire to make movies, be a professional musician or be involved in the music business would have been quickly repremanded for being ridiculous or unrealistic? I would suspect most if not all of you. Though your parents do not realize the damage done by these interactions and certainly did not intend damage, the damage is done and done most often for a lifetime. How many settle into the careers pushed by their parents promising so-called stabilty and advancement instead of a life driven by a hearts desire, gifts and talent? Again, I suspect most do. It is easier to settle, to not make waves, to feel stable and comfortable. I have seen many, many people do it.
I have been struggling this week with feeling a bit sorry for myself. Thinking back on my first (and only) year at Atlanta College of Art has brought much regret. I was never encouraged to pursue art as a child and certainly wasn’t told I was any good at it. The gift was just sort of ignored, so it makes sense that by the time I was out of high school, I was pretty uncertain about what to do. Although in my high school years I lived with my dad and stepmom and that time bred a lot of encouragement of my artisitic bent (they sent me to ACA), I still could not rid myself of the doubt and guilt of being ‘an artist’. I was fearful, unsure and although I got a scholarship and did exceptionally well, the ‘reasonable’ side of my brain (the side that snuffs out creativity) and the lack of encouragement as a child stuck to me. I could not shake it. So after my first year, I quit. It made me sad that no one encouraged me to keep going and stick it out. No one recognized that this was my call in life.
So, here I am eighteen years later still struggling with the same doubt, regretting that I did not finish my degree, strictly for the knowledge and skill I need here and now as I delve into "Jeff". All the old feelings and pain have enveloped me this week, but I do not want to give up. I do have people that believe in me and my ability as an artist, my greatest support being my husband. Overcoming those old tapes, or silences, even, is so difficult.