Sitting within the 10,000-volt electric fence that surrounded my life, I was much too scared to venture anywhere close to it, let alone harbor the thought of ever crossing it! Much of my life happened within the perimeter of safety even when I knew that my rich life was waiting outside.
Tempted to take up art seriously much later in life, I eagerly created a portfolio and applied to the closest fine art school that I could find. I was half hoping for rejection, so that the tedious detail of child-care, commute, and homework did not have to be addressed.
My life was in for a major turnaround when I got accepted. I was both thrilled and extremely nervous; it was time for me to cross my 10,000-volt electric fence.
My mind did not help me in the least: my imagination ran wild; I was going to miss the train and be late on the very first day. I would accidently fall upon the tracks and be run-over, or worse, be stuck in between the doors of the train and be bludgeoned against the tunnel walls. And my favorite - I would get off at the wrong station where junkies and petty criminals would rob and murder me.
To this day, I don’t know which God took my hand and walked with me!
When I finally made it to school uneventfully, I was in for more surprises. The very first class I took was Cast drawing. Our drawings were to be based off of casts of actual historical sculptures such as the David by Michelangelo, Nike of Samothrace of the Hellenistic Greek period, Laocoon from the Roman period and such other types, to be drawn to scale.
All of my fellow students were boys and girls between the ages of 18 and 20, many of who had already taken several drawing classes. So, as the oldest and least-skilled person, I even more nervously drew my child like drawing, never having taken serious drawing classes before. My instructor quizzed me on my skill set and left me standing with sweat tricking down my back.
The following week, looking extremely surprised he said, “I didn’t think you would show up!”
Here was a man who did not know me in the least. Who had no idea of the depth of my passion, my motivation, my life, the hardships of being a student and a mother of two elementary school age children not to mention the trauma of someone who had survived a major train related incident on her way to school.
Sometimes even as you are walking towards the 10,000-volt fence, people around you get nervous. The thing in all of this is to remember to be true to yourself even when you look crazy!
So, with his encouraging words in mind, I ran towards the fence with all my might and simply crossed it. I was unharmed – without a scratch. It turned out that like my train, my 10,000-volt fence, was also powered only by my imagination.
Half way through my very first semester, I drew the Nike of Samothrace to scale. My previously doubtful instructor after having measured and re-measured my drawing several times, put his hand out and said, “congratulations!”
Since then the idea is to cross as many 10,000-volt fences as I possibly can!