journal

A Haunting

I wasn’t expecting to write today, but here we are.

Something I made that I am not embarrassed by.

I had a nightmare last night. I don’t want to go into details, but in it I had managed to get back into art school. My mum was so proud. Then I did something abhorrent, and my mum was disgusted at and ashamed of me. Why did I have to ruin my achievement by being such an awful person?

There are some things to unpack here. Firstly, I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art back in 2005. It was a difficult time. I had no relationships in my course, either with students or tutors. I spend most of my time hiding at my boyfriend’s flat instead of working. I was so scared of even being there I was unable to engage with anything. My projects were few and far between, and were all shit.

Shit.

And shit.

And even more shit.

I really should have been kicked out after my first public art project. I wasn’t cut out higher education, never mind the course was on. But I made it to my fourth year when the department head stepped in and told me I should take a year out, and come back when my head was on straight.

In reterospect, I know she was right.  However, I felt that she hated me and wanted me out. I was also scared of telling my parents that I had “failed”, and had no idea how I could afford to repeat a year. Instead, I stuck it out and produced a half-assed degree show, and a quarter-assed dissertation. I had a miserable time, and ended up with a third class Honours degree. The whole thing was dire. I couldn’t even face going to my graduation ceremony.

I have recurring dreams of being able to return. I hand back my degree parchment, my slate is wiped clean, and I get to try again. Sometimes I remain in Environmental Art, and sometimes I switch over to Communication Design so I can practice illustration. I’m yet to see how the courses work out.

My time at GSA is my biggest regret. It was an amazing opportunity that some artists would give their eye teeth to attend, and I squandered it. I came out with even less skills than I had when I went in, and it was all my own fault.

But if given the chance, would I return? That’s a good question.

I made this in my first year, before I completely crashed and burned. I think this is my favourite thing I made at art school.

And now to my mother. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what I did in my nightmare, and how she looked at me afterwards. I wish I could speak to her, and talk this through. She would tell me it was just a silly dream, and that she was proud of me for who I am, and that she loved me. I don’t have that opportunity though, as she passed away a few years ago. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I am sitting here wishing that my mum was here to hug me and tell me that everything is okay. I just need to hear her voice.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from writing this. Maybe I am waiting for someone, anyone, to intervene in my life and make things better. In the mean time I am going to cry, and pray for a restful night.

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