I was working in banking at the time. It was very stressful. I remember when I was studying in the university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I was under pressure. There were lots of career fairs, services, deadlines, but hardly anything on unconventional paths. Everyone was heading towards banking or consultancy. Because it was so competitive, you felt like you should also be part of it.
Later on, I spent nearly two years exploring different career options, jobs in non-financial sectors, online retail, entrepreneurship. Everything I pursued just faded away. The only thing left to me was creative projects.
I started painting as a way of meditation. I bought the cheapest materials that I could find online, and then just followed the instructions from a book. I’ve never painted before and I had no plan, but the journey just went on and on. From a random sketch in my free time to a two-months weekend course. Then a full year foundation program. Finally, a full year postgraduate course at the Royal Drawing School.
The transition did not seem hard as you stepped into a structured setting, and you were always encouraged. I had never been so excited!
But now that I finished all my art studies, the situation has become quite different. There is no longer a clear path in front of you. You are constantly fighting against your self-doubts. It feels strange when every morning you are heading towards a different direction from everyone else in Canary Wharf.
Family members are also worried.
They would ask, “What if you don’t have money when you grow old?”
This is something you are already thinking about. They are just pinching that painful spot. Oftentimes, I have to tell myself, that I are not on my own, that many people have done this before and faced similar struggles, and that I are part of a bigger thing. Doubt will be always there. Uncertainties and insecurities will be part of the journey. You just have to get used to them.
Lots of voices are not helping; they are just preventing you. If you start listening to them and trying to analyze them, it won’t get you anywhere. The only thing that is helpful for me is to just start doing the actual activity itself. When I start painting, all these doubts just go away. I guess I just have to trust my intuition.
If something makes you feel both excited about and afraid, it’s probably the thing that is worth pursuing.
Anna Tveritinova, see Anna’s portfolio here.