Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Small Stories: Truths and Lies

A few weeks back Claire, from Curly Locks Pics & Pieces tagged me in a 'pass it on' type blogging activity where the idea was to blog six outrageous lies and one outrageous truth and have your blog readers guess which was which. You probably know the one I mean, [you've probably even had it yourself], but if not you can read Claire's original post here.

It was really nice of Claire to think of passing it on to me and so, at the time, I fully intended to join in. I was all set to think up which truths and lies to share with you all but I struggled with it. Perversely it wasn't so much the revealing of an hitherto secret 'outrageous truth' to you putting me off. After all I talk about myself on here a lot. No, rather I couldn't decide what you might be able to tell was untrue and if I'm reeeeeeeallly honest ...I was unsure if I wanted to provoke such speculation!

While I'd been thinking all of this through, one small truth kept nudging me to have itself revealed. And while it's nothing salacious or earth-shattering it is something that only a few people know about me. So it may not be 'outrageous' but I'm still taking a risk in sharing it ... which may well be why I chose it in the first place .... who knows?

So then... [deep breath]: I stopped going to art college after only two days. There, I've said it!
The whys and wherefores of that decision may be a story for another day but let's just say that while few people know that fact, it's not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed about it. It's just that it was an age ago [and feels like it too!] and to just mention it into passing conversation seems a bit unecessary!

So why has it popped up now? Well, I think there are three main reasons:

1. It did used to something I was embarrassed about, something I kept from people, a question I hoped never to have to answer. So, when I had to think up an 'outrageous truth' I think I had a little flashback!

2. I know someone desperate to put a foot on the path to his dream career after university and is wondering when it will happen for him. Talking to him reminds me of how I thought that in dropping out I'd ruined my entire life let alone my chances to follow my dreams and all I saw ahead of me was a world of uncertainty and likely compromise.

But I was wrong. My life wasn't ruined, just altered. Just because I could no longer see the path didn't mean there wasn't one, I just had to take a different route. A route which, as it happened, never led me back to art college but to an English degree instead. Not to a design career but to various student support roles. Not to a dead-end but to this place, here and now, where I work at combining all of those pathways into my future plans.

I will admit though, that if I could go back and tell my 16 year old self how long it would take to start achieving some of those life goals it would have been cold comfort .... yet the present day me isn't resentful about it. Once I got back to college, four years after dropping out, I forced myself to let go of the regret of, until then, I'd considered 'wasted' time and did my best to move forward. Looking into a future haunted by 'what ifs' was worse than looking into my past and seeing four 'lost' years. So I stopped that line of thinking. Plus, four years which made everything after them possible can not have been a waste!

So, these are the kind of thoughts I try to console my friend with while appreciating that he's still at the point of casting himself into an unknown future, whereas I have the comforts of hindsight. I'm lucky in that I know that I come out of it all OK in the end.

Weapon of Choice

3. The third and final thing which has likely stirred these art-school-dropout confessions is the positive feedback I've been getting from people about the sketches I've done to illustrate some of my 'Overheard' posts and also when I created a Velocirollercape [long story!] for our Copy + Paste birthday party.

There's even been some suggestion that I try to make a career from illustration [very flattering, thank you!] .... and maybe now you can see how my response to those compliment was never going to be without 'baggage' for me.

That said, I certainly wouldn't rule it out!

I now know things happen when they happen and they can't be accurately predicted in advance. Opportunities have their own way of finding me when they feel like it, smoetimes when I'm ready for them and often when I'm not! These days I'm excited by unanticipated turns in my career path and I'm not in the habit of ruling anything out.

That's another truth about me.

Sorry I haven't revealed anything really juicy or gossip-worthy ... or maybe I did??? I guess you should be the judge of that one. It's all old, old news to me ... even if the sharing of it is a relatively new feeling!

It'll be interesting to hear your take on it. Thanks for reading.

Julie :)

p.s: I entered this post into the discussion about 'quitting' over at the Scoutie Girl blog - the specific post can be found here.


  1. Well, that'a pretty cool post, Julie! It's wonderful to be in the position where it "all worked out in the end" and you can be excited about future opportunities. I'm pretty much at that point now myself - like you I didn't follow my "intended path" in life and it's taken a lot of twists & turns to get to where I am now, then accept that it's where I really want to be!
    Well done for the "confession" and for putting it so positively.
    I do hope your friend can manage to see a way through the fog...

  2. ...and you never even mentioned Bic pens!

  3. Thanks so much Lizzie - such kind words - best of luck on your path! :)

    As for the Bic pens Darcy - I've never kept them a secret! My pencil case is full of them! They're the tools of my trade :D

  4. A good post, Julie. the truth can be a lot more interesting than fiction, can't it?

  5. I'm still hoping that I am going to come out of it ok in the end! I dropped out of uni after only 2 weeks there so I know just where you are coming from Julie! I am still really struggling on my path, and while I feel it was the right decision it stll nags at me what could have been. It's nice to know that things worked out so well for you. And I suppose that if I hadn't dropped out then I may have never started my shop!

  6. There's no shame in that confession julie, I believe artistic ability can't truly be taught anyway. I spent four years at art college and what did I learn? That I am more suited to a career in education than art!!! Xx

  7. Oh I missed this post. It's been lovely watching you reveal your illustrations on the blog. I for one am glad you took that path, otherwise I may have never "met" you :)

  8. Don't be alarmed but....I quit school to! The best darn thing I did in my life and probably the best darn thing you ever did as well :)


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