Help, the skeleton said.

I looked down at the doodle you see before you, and for the first time, I felt like an artist.

Now, this is not because I think the drawing is particularly good (it isn’t). It’s because the doodle wasn’t planned – it grew organically. It came to life on its own. All that jazz about art being a window into the artist’s soul? Yeah, that too.

Let me explain.

My doodles usually consist of hearts. I like the swirly motion my hand makes, and after about a thousand, I’ve become pretty good at drawing them. Sometimes I might do a flower, and on occasion, a spiral. (I once read somewhere that people who doodle spirals are really outgoing and energetic. This is probably the dumbest reason for doing anything I’ve ever done.)

Today, I decided to see if I could draw a skull. (I can’t. Look closely.)

And then I thought he might as well have a body.

And then I figured, why not making him a puppet?

And then I thought OHMYGOD how cool and Inception-like would it be if ANOTHER skeleton’s hand was holding the strings? Is that arty or WHAT?

And then I wondered how the skeleton would be feeling.

I feel trapped, all the time. I live in a city I can’t afford. I work full time in a pub, while my degree weeps at home. I feel frantic with all the things I have left to do. And have I wasted the last twenty two years of my life?

Even during my degree, I felt stuck. I didn’t want to do advertising, but I felt I needed to complete it. I didn’t want to stay in Australia, but I wanted to travel for months, not weeks.

A few months ago, things began to shift. The wanderlust that consumed me began to fade, if only for a while. For the first time in a year, I felt able to look ahead and plan (however vaguely) for the years to come.

Like so many here, my dream is to become a journalist. I’ve always known I had this dream, but it’s only recently have I felt the courage to accept it. To realise just how much I want this. That this is what I truly want to do, and isn’t simply a job to pay the bills. That to fail would be torturous. That I’ll put in the hard work, the money for my degree, the endless internships, in the hope that one day far from now, someone will think my words are worth something.

And in this knowledge, I am free.

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