Monday, January 20, 2014

Life Paths

I recently was talking with a colleague and mentioned that I knew from the time I was three years old that I wanted to be an artist and equestrian. Of course when I was three this was expressed as, all I wanted was a horse and to draw pictures of horses. He asked me what that was like, the knowing what you wanted to do with your life at such an early age. I shrugged and said that I had not taken a straight path to where I am now.

I later started thinking about that question, "What is that like, to know what you want to do at three?" Well, quite frankly for me it was hell.

I was told by teachers that that was absurd to believe I could be an artist. I needed to grow up and pursue something more realistic. I needed to stop day dreaming.

Other well meaning adults told me that my parents would never let me have a horse. My parent said we couldn't afford horse or riding lessons. I believe the closer truth was that they knew nothing about horses and didn't have the time to shuttle me to a stable for a weekly lesson.

I was a relatively undemanding child. I believed that if you knew me and loved me, you would know what I wanted and needed. So when I didn't get the horse or the lessons, I believed that there was something wrong with me and that perhaps my parents didn't love me.

My parents did support me in art. We went to Museums and the Ballet. We always had books on art and artists. I always received art materials for Birthdays and Christmas. And, from the time I was 7, I was always given a place to set up my studio.

And so, I dreamed about horses and sketched them in secret. What I wanted to do with my life was unrealistic and foolish.So I even stopped drawing and painting horses, even in secret, when I was 13.

Try as I might to completely turn my back and walk away from art and horses, I was always drawn back as if they were sirens. The two things I loved more in this world than any other. But still, I was a fool and would listen to the negative rhetoric.

At 30 I went back to school. I knew what I wanted to do, what I needed to start learning. I still listened to negative comments and took many of them to heart. I still have plenty of well meaning adults in my life who tell me that I need to get a "real" job, that I shouldn't have a horse, that I need to be realistic.

I have no retort. They may be right, I am not sure about this. I am sure though that for me, not pursuing
what I hold most dear would be a wasted life.

So here is to the dream.

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