It's fascinating to look back on old blog posts and art journals and see my own words declaring my hope to become an art therapist one day.
I knew I wanted this, but I forgot just how much.
I'm pretty sure it is in my bones and in the fabric of my being.
I had so many hesitations - the money, the time, the fear of the unknown, the not feeling ready to dive back into school while working full time plus a part time side job (or two, or three, if you count canning preserves to sell locally with Tahlia and Nurture: A Retreat, which is one week away.)
One thing I've noticed in the patterns of my life is that I settle into one of two speeds: slow and steady or full tilt. I studied my masters in 2008/2009. Since it was a full time program, adding it to my full time job was a bit ambitious. Luckily my work is only a couple blocks from school and my boss was accommodating. I kept telling myself, it's only one year. You can do anything for only one year. Not only did I do it - classes, three placement days per week and a major research paper - I also met the love of my life. I find the full tilt pace offers an energy of abundance.
My major research paper for my MSW was about art and healing. I knew it was my place. Three years later when I was researching Art Therapy schools, I came across the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (VATI) and it gave me chills. Could I have studied locally? Absolutely. But, I somehow knew I needed to go to Vancouver. I applied, knowing the cost was a barrier. I asked the universe to please make the money fall from the sky. When it didn't, I was devastated. As a person of my word, it felt so weird to turn around and say, I'm not going to art therapy school. I turned away from blogging, went inward and let go of the dream. I figured it wasn't meant to be and might not ever be. Even after deferring my spot one year, I still could not manage the finances.
Three years after my initial application, the school contacted me asking if I might want to join for the 2015 cohort. I couldn't believe they were still willing to give me a shot. I knew I had to go. I just had to. I'm pretty sure in this situation, it was a matter of how badly do you want this and are you willing to ask for help. Even up until the last day, the day I told myself I would send the down payment, the day of the Aries new moon, I didn't have the money. The bank said no, my mom was hesitant and stressed. I didn't have anyone else to ask but my dad. I didn't want to ask him (he has the biggest heart and will give me anything he can, so I am careful about what I ask for) but I didn't know what else to do. As soon as I talked to him, he went into problem solving mode. Within hours, he called me back to say both my parents would lend me money I needed to go to school. It all came together at the final moment. My mom also kindly gave me some of her air miles to buy my ticket to Vancouver.
Even walking up to the VATI door on Granville Island in July, I still felt like it wasn't real. I was living in a dream the entire three weeks. I was there to meet my classmates and teachers and learn the studio portion of my schooling, along with ethics and family/group art therapy.
I made it to the ocean, saw the mountains, painted in the studio with my 8 classmates, met a diverse group of art therapists and kind of met myself again.
I realized how much this work in ingrained in my being. It feels natural and important and special and yet I am in awe of it. It took a long time to get here, but I'm here and I'm strangely glad it all happened the way it did. The longing, the waiting, the asking, the conquering. It all made this process so much more meaningful.
As I enter into September, classes will commence, work gears up, placement hours will accumulate and art will be made. I've never felt so sure about something. It's taken 15 years, 3 university degrees, and a whole lot of asking and answering questions for me to get to where I am right now as a student studying art therapy.
I don't ever want to forget how amazing this is and how lucky I am.
Thank you, Vancouver.
Thank you, mom and dad.
Thank you, art therapy.