the process: my $500 sketchbook

These days, I'm either writing; drawing; brainstorming in my sketchbook and on any paper available, or cramming information about textile design 'how-to's from books, the internet (mainly or and sometimes people in the know.

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My trusty sketchbook is at hand throughout this process (sometimes hiding under heaps of books and such, but always there) and gives my a sense of satisfaction to flip through the pages and see how much progress I've made thus far. And I'm glad it's so loved and used, because you see, this little notebook cost me $500.

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$500! What?! Yes, it's true. Because about 6 years ago I decided to finally fulfill my 'dream' of going to art school and signed up to our local college here in Savannah. (Savannah College of Art and Design.) Despite the fact that it costs a fortune to attend, despite the fact that I was past the point in my life of wanting to be graded for my artwork and wanting to sit through classes unrelated to my subject, despite the fact that the professors grade on personal preferences (usually dark and perverse), or that the students are way, way younger than me. Or the most important financial part - that going would put us into debt and student loans. Despite all that, I still really wanted to go.

I was eager to be in an environment that breathed, lived and created art. (Since there aren't any good adult classes here, this seemed like a solid option. Later I spent time trying to create an Atelier here in Savannah, which is really more along the lines of where I want to go. That's a dormant project that I may pick up later.) So, I held my breath, applied to SCAD and also sent in a portfolio toward a scholarship. I was accepted, got a scholarship of $10,000 a year, leaving 'only' a $20,000 yearly tuition fee impending like a dark depressing rain cloud. I won't bore you with the tedious details and technicalities at that point, but from all the advisors and people I spoke to at that point, the $$ weren't going to be clear until we actually put a registration fee of $500 down. A non-refundable registration fee. So we did.

I received my welcome packet and was excited yet uncertain that we were making the right financial decision. Then the monthly breakdown of $$ amounts came in and the deadline to pay them was fast approaching, and.... I discovered I was pregnant. The irony of the timing was not lost on me. And so, we made the decision to discontinue the school journey (or a decision was made for us) and with some relief, I unregistered and began a different creative process.

That registration fee hung over me in my mind as a taunting bad decision that was untimely and wasteful. As it was yet freshly deposited, I attempted in vain to retract it. Since it was non-refundable, and there was no room for flexibility, it remained in the hands of the school to do whatever they pleased with. (Maybe they bought a new Pod chair for the Student Center? Ahem.) And the only tangible thing left for me to remember this dream-that-was-about-to-happen-but-didn't; my glass slipper, was this pretty little sketchbook.

I don't have regrets. I'm glad I went through that, I learned a lot about myself and felt empowered by choice, not circumstance. Sometimes dreams in our heads don't translate the same in reality and sometimes reality is so much better than our dreams.

Here's to living empowered and learning to let go of regret so your dreams can become a reality.

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