Yes, it has been a while. Why, you may ask? Well I shall answer whether or not the question was posed with, ‘because I’ve been moving, bitches.’ On July 22nd I jumped the Durham ship and was London bound where I spent an awesomely lovely week soaking up the sunny rays (yes, they were actually in existence prior to the Olympics) and some time with family members throughout the cosmopolitan city. It was absolute bliss going from packing hell, shipping stress, and cleaning frenzies to sitting outside in my beloved city underneath the warm summer sun and catching up with relatives about this and that and everything in between. On July 27th, I headed to Gatwick and successfully arrived into Toronto to catch a bit of the opening ceremonies footage playing on Canadian news stations – a little surreal since I was there in London that morning and was now watching it from overseas. Très sad.
Now I have been resting in Indianapolis, IN for 2 weeks at this point, of which the first week consisted of nothing but sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Since then … the difficulty to awaken from this mindless slumber.
I’m feeling.. at odds, so to speak. I have worked my ass off this past year, more than what most can come to realize. What people do not acknowledge is that I have spent the past 5 years of my life studying in fields of which I had no prior knowledge of before the commencement of said studies. In 2007 I enrolled at IUPUI in Indianapolis, and within 3 months embarked on a degree in Fine Arts. Had I ever studied the arts? Yes. However, had I ever seen a darkroom? No. That’s an affirmative negative. Did I know what silver gelatin meant? Ha, no. I was beyond clueless, but knew I wanted to check into the medium. Challenge accepted. To be honest, I did well.. I stand true to that. I worked my ass off to challenge my mind to communicate my passions through the medium of photography and art in general. It was difficult going from such a nervous individual, refusing to express opinions in the most casual of settings to pinning up my work on the walls and presenting varying topics to my peers. And let it be known, photography students are nasty, ruthless, and cut-throat compared to other students I’ve thus far encountered. We do not hold back and neither do the professors. It’s rough, and a huge mental challenge for the soul at times. At the end of my undergraduate career, I was ready for a Master’s program. In art? No, that’s silly – politics of course!
Yes. I am an idiot on multiple levels. My artwork had developed an interest in exploring the power of art within a political setting. However, I have never studied politics. Not even in high school. To this day, I am a dunce in parliament rulings, democratic voting schemes, political party movements. I wanted to know more about the discussion in today’s classrooms as to what we are exploring, focusing on.
I cannot explain the difficulty of this past year. Due to the fact that my brain has turned to incoherent mush it is hard to verbalize my struggles in words which are inclusive in the English language. I challenged myself with the ultimate challenge for myself – I am not a natural academic, but I refuse to recluse to the mediocre simplicity of my mind’s nature and so I push it to it’s actual capacity. So picture this: the art student, quirky, creative, at times irrational, stepping onto the grounds of Durham University, a highly traditional English university recognized as one of the tops in the country. It is claimed as the third oldest in the UK, and it sticks to its traditional nature. Challenge.. accepted? Yes. Fuck yes, let’s do it. (Can you see the oddity of which I stood out as amongst my peers? Should I mention that in my induction ceremony class photo I stood out like a pea sitting atop a pile of charcoal – literally.. only chick wearing a colour amidst a sea of grey toting classmates).
I have less than 1 month to complete my dissertation. I am tired. I am worn down, and I am struggling to complete this challenge. I didn’t back down, however. I never backed down, even though I did stumble, I did trip and fall, and I did break down on numerous occasions. No one will ever know what I have put myself through this past year, and no one will understand why it has been as hard as it has been. I’ve had a rough few years battling personal struggles, being beaten down verbally, struggling to trust, to talk, to believe, and to dream. Those who know me know I’ve been through some shit. And it never ceases to stop, but neither do I.
To be honest, I am fighting so hard to find something worth standing for. Throughout my year abroad, pushing my brain through the equivalent of boot-camp for the weak, I have been trying to come out on top of personal decisions. And to be honest, I’m breaking down. I have been fighting for something that I truly believe in more than anything else in a long, long time. I believe in the connection of people, and I believe nothing is made to be easy apart from the connection itself. But I feel like no matter how hard I keep fighting to sustain a life worth fighting for, I’m blindsided by the unforeseen. There are most definitely times where I wish I could start over, choose the easy route, but life as I have always known it has been difficult, but I have accepted every challenge with everything I could give and I am grateful for the experience. I feel like every time I give, however, I’m asked to up it with an extra side of fries. I’m still trying, I’m still kicking, I’m still being as honest as the situation calls for, but will I ever be worth the flaws? I am struggling in life right now, and I feel like I’m not done giving. But I feel as though I am not worth the challenge for others, and I think that leaves me feeling foolish and taken for granted. But I’m still kicking, because the minute I stop I will sink in the middle of this sea rather than reaching the stability of the distant shoreline.
So yes, been busy. Been preoccupied. Been stressed and confused. Been fighting.
Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo