We had this cute love story that lasted a while. We knew each other for two years and fell in love right when we met. Our mutual best friend had introduced us. He was tall with dreads. He was from France and had a fancy accent, actually, I had a hard time understanding what he was saying even though we spoke the same language but nonetheless, his soft brown eyes made it all okay.
We spent two great weeks of visiting Montreal in the freezing cold, it was February. He wasn't equipped for Canadian winters but we managed to make the best of it. We’d cuddle and kiss and things seemed like a story from a fairy tale. And then came one of the hardest moment of my life…saying goodbye at the airport. There's that saying that goes “the airport sees the most sincere hellos and the saddest goodbyes…” or something along those lines…well, this was a sad goodbye. I knew I loved this guy but there was nothing I could do to keep him here. He needed to go back to school and I needed…to stay here and work.
So, he left.
With the time difference, it was hard to keep in touch but, I worked in a bar and when I’d end my shift he’d be waking up to go to school so we’d chat a bit. Everything was fine and then, something pretty disheartening happened between him and I (which I will spare the details) and, this fairy tale ended.
A few months later, in May, I visited him in Paris while on a Eurotrip. We had an okay week, nothing too spectacular but I was relieved to see those warm eyes again. We visited the city and ate dinner by the Seine river. We loved each other as best as we could and tried to make the best of the time we had together. And then, it was my turn to leave. There I was in the shuttle to the airport, tears streaming down my face as I was leaving the guy I loved. I didn’t understand our relationship at this point. Honestly, it wasn’t a relationship but it was…something. Needless to say, I had strong feelings for him but I knew I would probably not see him again. So, I let the tears stream down my face and thought that the warm beaches on Lagos would make everything better (and they really did!).
We stopped talking. I believe it was for the best. We weren’t physically together and we weren’t able to be together so we saw it fit to kind of ignore each other or, simply forget that each other existed. This was working perfectly until this summer…when I get a message via Instagram asking if I would like to go for a beer with him because he had moved to Montreal.
My jaw hit the floor. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. I had pieced together my life without him. I had loved him so intensely in the past and was destroyed by his actions and careless and selfishness that I would be stupid to go see him again. How could he have the guts to contact me again and ruin all the progress I had made in my life without him! I'm not that stupid, I won't go!
After our beers, those feelings were back. I hated myself. We had a few drinks and he kissed me and I knew I was fucked from that moment on…my heart was beating faster and I’d wake up with a smile on my face. His texts would make me giggle and the snapchats he sent me, well, made my heart race a little. Needless to say, this guy had taken over my thoughts, yet again.
He eventually asked me to be his girlfriend and I happily agreed and things were fine for a bit. We were having fun and everything was new and magical and giggly and blah blah blah! But, he wouldn’t text as much, he didn’t ask how my day was, he didn’t really make plans, he just didn’t seem to give a fuck so we fought. Broke up. And got back together. This happened three times. He didn't understand that communication was the basis of any relationship and for me, I felt love via words and not necessarly through actions. But, his small brain did not comprehend so, we fought.
Fast forward to Christmas time, he’s back home in France. Surrounded by his loved ones and his friends in a comfortable environment and me in southern Ontario with my mother. I get a text at 6 am and he’s breaking up with me. I wasn’t shocked and frankly, I wanted to leave him too…The more time I’d spend with him the more I was losing myself and the more I was realizing that those warm eyes, were, actually, just hazel eyes and he, well, he was quite boring and not very intelligent and did not talk much. I was frustrated and annoyed but what bothered me the most about the situation was his lack of respect towards me and the coward move to break up with me via messenger, I mean, C’mon, how lame and how much of a coward do you have to be to do such a thing. It just discredited the whole relationship.
It was at this moment that I realized that love was not a real feeling. That love in 2017 did not exist but rather intense lust. When things get even remotely hard people give up and change partners as if they were on Netflix and changed shows as soon as they got bored. Why can’t we work shit out anymore? Why can’t we love or believe in fixing relationships? Are we so numb to everything that we believe love no longer exists? What gives people the right to break hearts as freely as some do?
I might never understand these questions nor I do have any answers, however, what I do know is that love is no longer a true emotion let alone this idea of a stable and committed relationship.
I’m heartbroken but I’m alive, I’m healthy, I have an apartment and food in my fridge so this breakup is just another bump in the road. If I can get over this stupid bullshit, imagine what YOU can you! Don’t let the bastards get you down (as Rihanna would say)
Sir Ken Robinson once stated in a TedTALK in 2006 that the fear of being wrong will stop us from being creative, that kids will take a chance as they are not frightened at being wrong. However, as adults, we have stigmatized mistakes; they are the worst thing you can do at your job, or in your life. Sir Robinson goes on to state that we are educating people out of their creativity and, to this statement, I could not agree more.
I spent seven years of my life studying art in two reputable Canadian universities, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the best paints, canvas, gesso, the best brushes and charcoal and drawing paper, you name it. I had all the finest material one could afford on student loans and I was ready to unleash my creative juices.
It did not happen. The pressure of school and succeeding in your classes, by this I mean pleasing your professors or tricking them into liking your work, all play an important role in how, and most importantly, WHAT you create. Not only do these factor into your art, but it stresses you out (or at least it stressed me out) quite a bit, resulting in something you are not necessarily proud of or created half-assed to ensure you met the due date (when you know you could have done better if more time was allotted).
I am not saying that all professors are cynical of their students' work, but, like many artists, they appreciate a certain aesthetic as opposed to others, and if your art falls under their visual standards, well, shit about your luck! This sort of “having to please my prof” relationship is not only tiresome, but greatly affects the mental state of any artist. You are always caught in this catch-22 whirlwind where, if you create something phenomenal, but it does not meet the assignment's requirements, you know you will fail. However, if you create something that does meet all the criteria, but is so far from your own personal style, you question whether or not you even made that…that is not a healthy alternative, either.
Hence, creating art, writing an art history opinion piece, or doing anything that is remotely creative with a curriculum and a professor constantly hanging above your head, is bound to instill fear of failing. With this fear, you end up pushing your creativity aside in hopes to please whoever you are painting, writing, or creating for. University education, in a way, quiets your creativity as the pressure to succeed takes over. I would also add that, in art history, when one is writing about a painting or sculpture or any art object, for that matter, there is always a fear that your interpretation will be wrong. However, who is to judge whose interpretation is right or wrong? I have completed a Masters in Art History as well. I know from experience that my work was based on what professors would like and what would ultimately get me the best grade, as opposed to writing about things I truly liked. For example: my thesis. It was a disaster. The end product had been altered into what my supervisor ultimately thought was best, which eventually led me to resent getting my Masters AND, worst of all, spending $25,000 on education that wasn’t worth it.
What I’m trying to say is that, if you are a creative, the academic world is perhaps not your best option. Sure, you will learn great things, but your creativity might also suffer at the hands of the business (university). Be careful, think wisely about your school and career paths, and do not let a professor tear your creativity apart. Even if they do not see eye to eye on what you have produced, it definitely does not mean it’s not good. Don’t let the bastards get you down.