As I made the short walk from my room to the bathroom, moving from my bed for the first time in four hours, on a Friday night mind you, I felt the oh so familiar ache to create art, but it was, as it often is, overruled by exhaustion.
It occurred to me at that moment that my vision, to create a living, breathing portfolio had as of late become an elderly woman on a respirator, barely living and quite pathetic. So I dug deep. Why is this happening to my dream? What am I doing wrong?
The truth is I haven't found exactly what I was looking for here. I came here, to college, hopeful for good health, both mental and physical. I was looking for a place I could call my new home, and although I have adjusted to surviving here, I wouldn't say I'm thriving. All extras have been ignored, I sleep, eat, go to class. Nothing too extravagant. Friends? Not many. Art? Haven't made much. Extracurricular activities? Forget about it. But just because this place isn't perfect (although I am learning to love it, for any of you concerned about my well-being) why should I stop doing what I love?
I look around- the suite is empty; I am alone, and I have a craving to create art. Why am I not pulling out my tripod and creating some dramatic, dark art like I usually would do on weekends back home? I have more freedom here, so why am I not using it? I suppose there are a few reasons.
1. The luxury of having my own space is gone. There are other girls here, girls who sometimes bring more girls or even guys over. I can't just be running around in random outfits making weird faces and poses trying to get the perfect picture without getting some weird looks.
2. As my dishes pile up in my room, I realize I can barely keep up with daily life. I am doing a decent job. The laundry gets done every so often, I go to the doctor, make my own meals, and sometimes I even make my bed, but that leaves little to no energy for the things I love. Most days I nap once or twice at least two hours each, and I sleep a good eight to twelve hours at night, and I'm in my pajamas by 6:00pm on average. I'm sure if we did the calculations we would find there isn't much room for anything else in that kind of schedule... I'm not sure why I thought I would be able to continue creating art like I had been for the past two years without the support system I had back home. I have been inspired here, but I've also been tired.
3. I also don't have all of my clothes and random trinkets from home. I've realized that when I was home, if I wanted to take pictures in a bathtub or search the attic for clothes, I could. There were always things around that could be used to make great photos, not to mention the great playground of a yard we had. (Unrelated side note: I miss having a kitchen. If you have one, don't take it for granted)
4. Another thing. I don't have the same resources I had back home.When I feel like creating art, at about 10pm, the lighting in my room is dismal at best, a pitiful florescent bulb next to my closet and my small 25 watt lamp. My fancy soft boxes and backdrop are gathering dusts back home, and it breaks my heart.
The chaos of adjusting to college has created that ache within me, it is almost constant; I need to be creating art. My body is telling me that I need to, but the chaos that causes that feeling is overwhelming and I have been napping and studying to soothe the ache, but I know deep down that is not what I need to be doing.
Some people I know do incredibly well in college, artistically. They meet the right group of people, they find the right places, they get out of their dorm enough to explore, and they become greater artists. I hope that happens to me eventually, because at this point in time, I feel like I'm fading, giving into the stress of studying instead of extinguishing it with art. My only hope is going home, where I have several studies scheduled, and hopefully I will come back with some things to edit.
It is a real struggle. Navigating life as a student and life as an artist. My heart urges me to explore; my exhaustion tells me to sleep, my ache longs for me to create.
Just something to consider if you're a young artist about to go off to college. It changes everything.