What I was and what I am


Daily Prompt: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

by michelle w. on September 6, 2013

What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?

I think my biggest regret is dropping out of art school. In 7th grade I was one of 200 learners drawn from over 50 schools in the Western Cape to attend a prestigious art school.

I attended for a few weeks but I wasn’t used to travelling on my own and when there weren’t any students traveling with me I’d get lost. I was and still am quite bad with directions.

I wasn’t the least bit familiar with the area and even though on a map it looked easy to locate, it wasn’t easy for me. The fact that I had to attend after a long day at high school didn’t help. That was also the first year my mom decided to get a full time job since I was born. Nobody was available to escort me like the little princess I was. It also meant nobody was home. So I bunked.

My parents found out when my report came back with something like: ‘didn’t attend’ on it. Needless to say they were quite shocked. It was an official subject part of my regular curriculum in school, so I basically failed an entire term of Visual Arts. 

I can’t remember what my excuse was but they didn’t punish me. I think my mom felt guilty for being away from home so much and sort of blamed herself.

I’m not saying that the regret is punishment enough but I know my life would have been completely different if I mastered my skills.

I had no idea what I would do after high school but I knew everyone was expecting me to go the creative route. Being a rebellious fool I opted to do anything except what people expected of me. I also knew that I didn’t want to sit in an office all day because it would kill my soul.

On the last minute I decided to apply at a technical universality for horticulture. My dad told me I was making a mistake but I cried (because I was panicking about the fact that applications were closed) I said he wasn’t supporting me in my decision and that he should have more faith in me.

He caved. One year later, thousands of Rands later, I dropped out. It wasn’t what I expected and I was allergic to the very things I were to work with daily (plants and soil). I spent the following 6 months enjoying being at home. Out of the blue my aunt called to say her supplier was looking for an assistant. I went for an interview, got the job as the admin assistant and learnt the accounting software. I then went on a basic bookkeeping course and a few years later applied for my current job.

From an aspiring artist to bookkeeper. I didn’t even do maths at school, nor accounting. See how this wasn’t my plan or expectation? Then again what kind of job did I expect to get anyway? I don’t know. I was lost.

I wish I had a more creative job but this is where I am and was meant to be. I can still be an artist. I haven’t touched a paint brush in years though. I was good at sketching, very good but I have no idea if my hands still remember. It’s not entirely like riding a bike. It takes talent with lots of practice to get good at it. I sat for hours and days practicing one small thing. Now.. I don’t know if I’m any good anymore. I don’t even know if I have the right to even call myself an artist anymore and I think out of everything; that is what hurts me most. That is what I regret.


18 responses to “What I was and what I am

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  5. There were regrets I think, but tbh I’m just glad all of it happened. There were bad choices yes, but more importantly I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now 🙂

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