Graduating felt relieving and deflating at the same time. There was no particular moment at which I ceased being a student, I was weaned off the identity I’d come to suppose for myself gradually over the last couple of months. And yet, I’d never been quite aware of my status as student, I’ve just been preoccupied in my cloud of freedom, and scrambling for sense in such a privileged period of time reserved for anything. Anything could happen in those three years, it was open time. As such, I didn’t feel like a student, nor a twenty-something year old, nor a girl for much of that time. I was exempt from being pinned down, the art school said, “be whatever”.
That made me almost nothing. I felt myself melt away and became less aware that I existed at all. My activities were so reduced to observation that I felt like a stone. Now that I am graduating, my self awareness is creeping up on me again. I feel my age, I feel my social status, I feel my womanliness. I have a responsibility over my demographic, all of a sudden. I must be keeper of myself.
Meanwhile, it has been a generally confusing time. The historic EU referendum took place and Britain decided to leave the European Union, upon which the prime minister decided to resign. There is a vacuum of identity everywhere, bracing for an insurgence of some powerful brand. Meanwhile, flash floods are hitting us all over, and as a result our degree show was prematurely closed down. On a personal level too, I am tugged at the mercy of life’s currents: I just started a job ushering at the theatre to support my stay in London this summer, am looking ahead towards an MA, have moved into a cheap house with lots of space in London’s deep south. It sounds different, interesting, and certainly positive because I have support systems in place. It is all so new to me however that I feel I am being carried off by the plans I set in place months earlier; without control I am letting things happen to me and the time passes.
I have no idea what I will do. When I feel uncertain, or afraid, I do not move a muscle. Like a child afraid of the dark, I stay motionless lest I am discovered by the life that watches me.
That means not doing anything, though I so love to do things. When I latch onto something I love doing, I could do it indefinitely. Often I find myself disconnected from such things. Drawing, writing, acting, reading. These things seem like faraway holiday destinations which I would surely love to visit, but I must be patient and get there first. I am a really slow artist. I am a really slow person, by all appearances conservative and reserved.
There is a watercolour I am looking at, which I have not touched in something like 5 months. I love it. I want to return to it, but I anticipate prematurely giving up on it, within something like five minutes, from disenchantment. Anticipating disenchantment often stands in the way of me doing a lot of things.