I am an Artiste, part II



Where was I?



Art School at East Carolina. Wesley Crawley. The end of my artistic schooling came suddenly, and without a whole lot of fanfare. Wesley Crawley did NOT like me. He did not like me from Day one of drawing class, and he took every opportunity to belittle me, and point out how inferior my work was in every way, shape and form. I was on Dean’s List, except for his class. I was struggling to get a D. STRUGGLING. In tears. I turned in my work, on time, best as I could and he was a brutal motherfucker of a teacher. The worst knob gobbling twatwaffle I have ever had to deal with and I worked retail! At the end of the semester, he handed me back my portfolio. He eviscerated me. Tore me from stem to stern. I walked back to the dorm room, in tears, and I left art school, his condemnation loomed heavy on my mind

Fast forward a few years. I am at Appalachian State University, recovering from a lengthy illness complication by personal issues, when I get a newspaper clipping in the mail from a friend of mine who was still at East Carolina University. The clipping was of a man, in his mid-60’s, who ended his life by walking into a lake, carrying a cinder block, tied to a rope around his ankle. The teacher that was so brutal, and horrible and ended my art career had committed suicide in a shallow lake outside Greenville, NC. Only now do I realise how much power I had given him. Power enough to keep me from drawing and painting for almost 30 years. I could not bear to pick up a paintbrush to put to canvas for the fear of the eviscerating criticism that would erupt. I am finally to the point in my life where I can paint, and draw, and sketch and derive joy from it. It makes me quite happy to paint, and give my artwork away. It helps me in my healing process that I used to think would never happen. There are days when I still struggle with rejection, and days when I paint or draw something, and I immediately destroy it, for real fear of rejection or ridicule.

Someone once told me that recovery could take a really long time, and it’s something I struggle with and probably…always will. It only makes me realize that the only power people can steal from you—is the power you let them take.

12 thoughts on “I am an Artiste, part II

  1. It is so horrible that you had to go through that – some people should not be allowed power over others, and the education system should protect students! It is great that you are coming through this and rediscovering your obvious artistic talent. Your writing, too, is very eloquent and moving. Keep at it 🙂

      • Ah, I love our blogging community 🙂 It was through you, Julie, that I found this wonderful blog 🙂 Both of your stories are tragic – there are so many abusers within the education system, and abuse can take all sorts of forms! You can’t help but wonder whether some of these teachers are intimidated when they come up against people with genuine and natural talent that they are unable to reproduce!?

      • She is really good people, and it am so glad you found her blog!

        I agree with you. People in power can so easily take advantage of their positions. If I had known then what I know now? I would have had him on a hostile work environment complaint.

  2. Awwww, Skwarl….as long as I have known you, I did not know this!

    Darlin’, please know that every piece of creativity that I have ever seen come from you has made me drop jaw in awe. Seriously.

    My anti-human had the same effect on me. I can’t recall a time when I have ever felt so stupid and useless as I did under that “man’s” tutelage. I learned, some years later, that he overdosed on prescription pain meds and that was the end of that.

  3. Hi Squirreling Dervish!

    I just found your blog on Julie The Workaholic (gotta love her!)’s latest award post!
    I’m new to the blogging community, but not to the bullying abuse you talk about in this post. Really strikes a chord.

    The unkind words, the near fatal blows, the crippling criticism that gets heaped up us when we are most vulnerable: when we start being creative. We step outside our own comfort zones and “safety” when we open up, and these s.o.b.’s can smell that a mile away. It is important to them to quash anyone who is capable of potentially outshining them, and to do that the MOMENT they first venture out in exploration.

    Congrats on your continuing recovery! It takes a long time to let the light shine on what you have done. And the miracle is that from the fire and ashes of that horrid abuse rises your creative soul, shining, stronger and more enduring. And compassionate! What a wonder.

    And about the demise of the mean spirited foulness in those men discussed above, don’t waste a moment thinking about them.

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