Today was a good day and I experienced something important. It is such a rare occasion that I make a post about something positive. So let's do it now.
In the morning, as I woke up, I was certain that today was going to be horrendous. The past couple of weeks we have been preparing our end of 2nd year exhibition with my uni class and that has been nerve-wrecking for everyone involved. Since the opening night is tomorrow, I guess my stress was just taking hold of me.
I was feeling generally anxious about many practicalities to do with the exhibition - and every time when a grand amount of stress happens I also get anxious about things I would otherwise leave be. So I left home feeling physically ill and ready to burst into tears.
But then, after six hours of measuring, marking, drilling, screwing, unscrewing, climbing, lifting, carrying and hanging, my work was up and looking good and I gave myself a coffee and food break. Revived, I walked back to the gallery and suddenly I just felt strangely happy and proud about myself. Strangely, because I'm not used to feeling so accomplished with such sincerity. The installation at the wall is by no means perfect - some of the gaps between my images are bigger and some smaller, and it's all not perfectly straight and level but for now it is good enough for me. After months of working on different stages of this project seeing it in a gallery wall feels unreal. Especially since it is the first time for me to be a part on a exhibition.
Moreover, it isn't just the satisfaction over my own work, but the group effort of making the whole event happen. We sold homemade cakes on campus in couple of days to raise some money to cover expenses. We've been cleaning the exhibition space together, and painting walls and each other. I got a huge amount of help from people who were taller, stronger and more familiar with tools than myself. And altogether, the atmosphere has been really good and productive despite the fact that each and everyone of us has been under a lot of stress to get everything done on time.
And for the first time since I started university I feel like I belong somewhere and that there is a thing that is mine alone and has nothing to do with anyone else. Sure, I love my housemates to bits but as they all study the same course, different from mine, I often feel quite alone. I'm not very close with anyone in my course either just because I take a lot of time to get familiar enough with people to let them close.
So, experiencing this kind of belonging and being part of a thing is extremely important to me. And to go back to the more egocentric experience of seeing my own work the way I imagined it - this may sound obvious, but realising that to feel good and kind of complete I don't need anyone else but myself. I don't need any one person to make me accomplish things in my life. This might get blown out of proportion now, but the first time in years I felt somehow independent again - I could look back to the things that had put me down in the morning and just brush them off because I had something new, something of my own.
And tomorrow when one of our tutors is going to have a walk-through to see if there's anything that he thinks needs to be changed he'll probably tell me that all of my images are completely uneven and wonky and I need to move them up and down and left and right.
But I had a moment today.