I had a professor in my second year who went on to become one of my closest friends. Of the things she said to me I remember “Courage!” the most. She still texts it to me when I’m having an off day. “Courage! (en francais)” She grew up in Ontario right on the border they shared with Quebec. She lived in the UK, did performance after performance in Belfast, Ireland, started a few performance collectives, moved around Canada and settled in my heart.
She always challenged me and I hated it for months. I complained to my family every time Dr. Jules spoke to me. Eventually I warmed up to her because no matter what I did she cared about me. I tried my best to defy her in class and she encouraged and applauded me telling me I was an anarchist like her. It’s really hard to hate someone who loves you so unconditionally. I’m talking about Jules because she is someone I saw who had an unyielding courage. There was no challenge she couldn’t face and no one who ever stood in her way. She drowned them in kindness and converted them.
I look up to her because of this. She even drove with me when I first moved to Edmonton and has stayed with me on occasion since then.
And my friend Timon reminded me of this kind of love today because I wrote to her in desperation. I have been struggling over the last week with my anxiety. (Backstory info) As of the 8th grade I’ve carried the diagnosis of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder with me. I fight against it by being obnoxious, loud, confident and silly. I know that no matter what I do I will feel uncomfortable and nervous so I try to do big things, the challenging things.
But my anxiety can overwhelm me during summer or school breaks because the absence of structure and outside pressures to act. I melt into a shallow puddle of depression. I sleep all day, laze about, and for the life of me can’t leave the house.
Timon’s encouragement was to stop comparing myself against others. She reminded me that although I’m doing things that are bizarre and unfamiliar to the UofA that people still like my work and I should focus on developing it further. Help more people understand it. Do the big things. Do the challenging things. She filled my heart with hope.
In case I have never mentioned… I will be graduating next year and taking fours studios a semester. That is 24 hours of class time each week. It does not take into account the outside of class time or anything else. Sculpture, printmaking, painting, and drawing intermedia all week for 8 months and then it will all be over. Timon said that doing four at a time will help me to grow fast and if I choose a single concept and spread it across all four mediums I could develop a diverse body. I would never have thought of that because I was busy melting.
I will write more frequently. I’ll stop lollygagging!