It’s been a long time since I sat down and wrote something. So long that I wondered whether I still possessed the ability.
My life has changed a lot over the last couple of years. I got out of an abusive relationship, found a place to live. Started to live in a very real sense. After years of being who others wanted me to be I began to discover who I was.
I discovered–perhaps that should be re-discovered–a love of art and made the time to explore and indulge this growing passion. Regular visits to galleries and exhibitions punctuated my own creative exercises, drawing and painting, as I quickly realised that my desire was to build up my own visual arts practice.
That continues to develop, and I’m certainly blessed with the most wonderful collection of friends who offer support and advice. As this interest has risen I’ve found that one casualty–the other end of the seesaw–was my long-established interest in programming.
I’m not sure if that reached its natural conclusion and faded after more than thirty years, or if it was affected by the severe mental health problems I’ve endured since leaving the toxic situation I had been in. It doesn’t actually matter.
My life has reached a point where I feel pulled towards a new destination. The road I’m on branches here, and the path I expected to take no longer calls to me. I’m not sure where my steps will take me from now on, but alongside trepidation at the prospect of upheaval I am feeling excited and eager to explore new lands.
Being both impulsive and risk-averse, I feel conflicting urges to simply jump in feet first while also planning every step in careful detail. Because I have commitments I’m taking the careful option and researching my choices. I’m working on keeping my existing career going while I first explore and then build an alternative, and then I plan to transition from one to the other.
It might not all work out, but I’m taking the advice of Neil Gaiman in his book Art Matters. To “make good art” for sure, but also to imagine my goal as a distant mountain and whenever I’m not sure which way to go, to make sure I’m heading towards that mountain.
In the last year I have sold an artwork, and I’ve had work exhibited. I’ve been lucky, but then to some extent we make our own luck. I’d love to exhibit and sell more work, but more than that I want to make more art. There’s joy in seeing my work appreciated, but the most joy comes from the act of creation itself.
Reaching this turning point has been difficult, tumultuous. I’ve struggled to rekindle a sense of purpose, but there’s direction in my life once again and it’s not one I would ever have imagined even just a few years ago. I’ve changed and that change has unlocked the door to a different world, one in which I feel I belong. All that remains is to build a home there for myself.