(Not) Defining Moments
I was six years old, we had arrived in Greece on vacation. They had lost all our baggage at the airport. All but a small one. I remember many things about that holiday...
A golden painted man posing as a Greek statue, the olive plates I ate, a terrible nightmare I had on a very hot night in our beachfront bungalow, the jumps in the sea riding the waves, my mom's dark curly hair and my bob haircut of straight hair.
But among all, I remember being sitting at the table for lunch (eating olives) not far from a multilingual family. French mother, English dad, or vice versa, and two girls, younger than me, who spoke both English and French.
So many things are noted because, whether we like them or not, we have been exposed to them. And, from birth, I was exposed to a love for languages, to an attention to capturing them in the middle of a crowd. For years, I thought that this memory of the family in Greece was one of the defining moments of my life, I thought my desire to have a multilingual family came from that specific episode.
That was an important moment, but not a definitive one. Hearing those bilingual girls, reinforced something that was already in me. I noticed them because I knew how to notice them. From birth, from every far away tale, from exposure to art and culture that my strange parents - each in there own way - have given me.
The same with writing and painting, I've never decided from one day to another. This physical need has always been there. Need to do, create and let wandering thoughts turn into colour and words.
Like many children, when I was very little, I took a colored pencil in my hand and I made artist's drawings on the wall. My mother didn't appreciate it that much, but for me a love was already born. And there is no going back from love.
Art was never a choice, a part from that only one time I decided that art school was not for me.
When I was about 13 years old, I had to choose what to do with my life.
Some body transformations I didn't want where happening, family situation was not the brightest, I was sad all the time and definitively had no clue of what I wanted to do.
Three things I knew: I needed some sort of structure in my life, I didn't like math & I didn't want to go to art school.
Everybody in my family and in school was very surprised when I picked classical studies. I was an artist the moment I was out of the womb, so what happened?
At 13 yo, art was very far away from what I needed, not that I knew what I needed, but clearly didn't know any better back then. And I knew art was not a safe career path, as many people are unfortunately still being told. So, instead, I decided to go study Latin and Ancient Greek, which instead are very useful...
I never stopped painting, but I fell back in love again with the idea of art only when I was 22 and a (very) broken heart drew me back to colours and canvases.
I think a part of me is still sitting at that table looking at the multilingual family, trying to identify as many life defining moments as possible, as though they could make any difference now. They don't.
I believe that the only reason why art "happened" to me, is because I never allowed myself to let it go, I've always looked for it, hence I've always been able to find it before me, and every step of the way was a defining moment in protecting my true self.