Julia’s #imnotsorry Story

Julia is the cousin of Morgan. She is currently studying art at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has an amazing spirit of creativity.

#imnotsorry that I changed my mind.

I once believed that life could make sense; that I would be able to write out a logical progression of events and choices that led to my ‘success’. But living life so it can make sense on paper is like drawing a circle around someone and forbidding that they should ever venture beyond it; it makes for a profoundly boring and limiting existence. And bored was exactly what I felt when I took the next logical step after high school and went to Boston College.

I kept waiting for that moment when all the hours of studying, over-programming, and anxiety would suddenly feel worth it. I’d imagined that an intense wave of relief and inner peace would wash over me upon being dropped off at college, and a voice in my head would tell me, “you made it”. But that moment never came. Rather, the voice continued nagging and taunting, and the familiar scripts of self-defeat and doubt ran like a broken record in my mind. Now there was only more to prove, greater competition and higher stakes. I was on a treadmill I didn’t realize I could step off of, and one I never realized I had a choice to step onto in the first place. This pressure was voluntary, but believing that it was imagined was like trying to believe in Santa Claus in your 20s: you’re the only one who still believes.

So when I announced I would be transferring to art school people looked at me like I had just told them I still believed in Santa. I got responses like “I can’t really see you as an art student”, “But you aren’t weird”, “You are smart though, why are you going to art school?” and “Don’t waste your potential”. More than feeling discouraged by these words, they made me realize that no one had ever really seen the real me. I had sketchbooks full of drawings, folders full of poems, and novels I had started writing piled high on my desk. But all they saw was a ‘normal’ girl that did what was asked of her. I had done challenging things in my life, but had never challenged anything.

This change of heart was not throwing in the towel, or running away from the pressure. Rather, I was running head long into the scariest decision of my life. For it is far more terrifying to fail at what you ask of yourself, than to fail at what others ask of you. Throwing the validation of others out the window and relying almost wholly on myself was like shedding layers of protection I had built up over the course of 19 years. Standing naked and alone in my decision was simultaneously the most invigorating and vulnerable moment of my life. In the months and years following my decision to pursue art professionally I have learned that vulnerability is what makes me feel the most alive and what fills my artistic practice with the most passion. Without it I would once again be too shielded from myself to see what truly gives happiness and inspires me. I will never apologize for my seemingly ‘illogical’ decision to stray the course, because now I know that life is far more exciting when it doesn’t make sense on paper.

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