I sent my application and writing sample in for the artists’ retreat in France last night. I told my mom and she asked me what would happen if I didn’t get in. “You’ll probably cry, won’t you?” she said to me. “Yep, probably,” I agreed. “But then I’ll get over it and find another way to get there.”
Because that’s how I am. I get my hopes up, I get disappointed, I shed some tears, and then I find a new way to achieve my dream. And going to France for a month is my dream — I’ve always wanted to go back. To be able to go for a prolonged stay, to write and complete my novel and eat fantastic food, take long walks in nature, and experience the culture firsthand again, that’s something that I need. It’s a change that I need to make, a chance that I have to take.
I’m so lucky that I have the people I do around me to support me. My family has been remarkable; they always have been. No matter what dream I’ve had, they have stood by me. No matter how I’ve felt at the rejection, they’ve been there. Through all of the insane ideas I’ve had (doggy daycare, sign language for gorillas), they just nodded their heads, gave me a hug, and told me if I really wanted it, I could do it. It’s their unwavering faith in me that makes me believe this is possible. It’s why I’m working so hard and taking these chances. And I am so proud of myself for it. Because at the end of the day, I can be truthful with myself and say that I have at least tried.
I visited Lock Haven this weekend and met up with some dear friends, including Julie, my old professor, and Virginia, her mentor. When I told them about France, they couldn’t have been more excited and supportive. Virginia said that when she was younger, she toured Europe, and she always wanted to go back but never had the opportunity to. Julie is just now following her dream of getting her doctorate and is planning on traveling to Italy sometime soon. I feel like that is exactly the reason why I need to pursue my dreams now.
I’ve said this time and time again, but it has never been more true: I have absolutely nothing holding me back. My job is temporary, I’m not attached to anyone, my parents are more than willing to watch Riley and Mike, and I know I’ll always have a home to come home to. I’m young, I’m ambitious, I’m ready for a change. This is the best time for me and I need to take this opportunity before it slips away, before time passes and I wonder about my what if. This very well could be my what if, and I am not going to let it.
If I don’t get into the artists’ retreat, of course I’ll be disappointed and upset and all that good stuff because I think that it could be a remarkable place and experience. However, I won’t let that stop me. Come the Fall, I’ll be spending a month in France one way or another — writing and learning and experiencing…Changing and growing as only true independence can provide.