The first thing I ever wanted to be when I was growing up was an artist. I would color, paint, sculpt, and create as much as I could with anything I could get my hands on.
That dream died sometime through the years, but I specifically remember it really disappearing around the time I was in middle school. The art teacher and I had a personality conflict or something, and I didn’t like the way she taught. If things weren’t done the way she wanted, you got a bad grade. It doesn’t matter if you tried your best or tried something out of the box and creative, you were docked points and I really really didn’t like that. I felt like I was being trapped in Harry Chapin’s song “Flowers Are Red,” and that was not okay in my little brain.
I ended up pursuing the sciences in high school; I took all the science classes I could, and wanted to either a veterinarian or a high school science teacher, triple certified in biology, chemistry, and physics. I didn’t take any art classes, and that was okay with me. I mean, who really ends up being the first thing they ever wanted to be when they were little?
College was a wake up call. I did awful in my science classes. The only positive thing I got out of the classes is that was how my husband and I met (he is now a high school science teacher). My second semester of freshman year I had to take an art class to fill a requirement. I wasn’t too thrilled with having to take it, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to move on with your life.
I remember the second week of class; we had just started working on our first assignment. I rushed back to my dorm and got started working on it. A couple of my friends stopped by to pick me up for our lunch date, and I dragged my feet out the door. I didn’t want to leave my project!
It was like that for the next couple weeks. I lived and breathed those projects. In my free time (ok, so even when I should have been studying for other classes), I found myself sketching again. I felt alive for the first time in years, and I didn’t want to lose that feeling.
As the semester went on, I made a huge decision. I filled out all the necessary paperwork, and became an art major. I remember calling my mom and telling her. I think at first she was a little hesitant (I think she pictured me as a starving artist, and I can’t say I blame her!), but almost right away she supported me 100%. I called my grandparents next; my grandpa is into painting as well, and they were so excited for me. I remember them saying I had to go visit them, and when I did, they gave me some of my grandpa’s paints, brushes, and even his tabletop easel.
Eleven years have passed since I made that decision to switch my major (man I feel old saying that!). I have graduated college with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. I’ve done murals, paintings, and drawings for people and have an installment of six drawings on display full time at our church. I am the head decorator for our church’s vacation Bible school every year. I’ve helped people pick paint colors for their homes. I’ve taught art lessons both in my home, for a local home school group, and am teaching art classes at our local library for both adults and children a handful of times each year. Art is my life again, and it is amazing.
My youngest son will be going to kindergarten in just over a year. People are always asking me what I plan on doing when he goes to school. Will I continue to babysit? Will I get a job? What is my plan? I wasn’t always sure, but I had always hoped that I’d have time to really pursue my art. I’ve been praying about it lately, asking God to give me the desires of my heart: to be an artist. Here I am, just expecting it to naturally fall into place in my time, when Ryan goes to school. But that God of mine, he has a sense of humor. He said now is the time, he wants me to have my dream now. And here I am.
And I’m terrified. Each time I post a picture on Facebook I’m afraid that someone will look at my preview or even finished piece and say that I have no talent. That a five year old can do better than that. That no one is going to like what I do, and this dream will come crashing down around me.
I’m beyond excited. I love watching God work. I feel like he’s been telling me he’s wanted to give me this gift of pursuing my dream my entire life, that he’s been waiting 30 years for me to just reach out and take it. But I haven’t been ready. I’m still not sure I’m ready, but I’m here, trusting him.
I’m humbled. The fact that someone out there, or multiple someones, likes something I do so much that I have a list of projects to be working on. I get to do something I love and it makes people happy? That is just the coolest thing ever.
It also is exciting as my new business cards arrived in the mail this week. Seriously, it was like Christmas morning here! I know it’s been official for awhile that I’m an artist, but seeing it in writing makes it real: I am a real artist.
And it is an pretty awesome feeling having your dreams come true.