Saturday, 27 July 2013

Lilac support.

Putting my biscuits down on the counter, smiling up at Bald Fella then looking across at Winky McDarling Man; the latter winks, shoots me a 'hello darling!' and carries on counting his cash. Baldy gives me a once over, smiles to himself.
'That's an interesting colour,' says he.
I remember that as of yesterday, my hair is bright lilac. 'Why thank you!' all smiles, 'I got an impulse, so I kinda had to do it, y'know?'
'I got ya. Arts student, by any chance?'
'How did you know?!' wink.

Some years ago, I was sitting in the study happily Googling university courses while on the phone to one of my oldest friends. Dull brown hair in a high ponytail, block fringe as always, minimal makeup and jeans. Just jeans, always. The UCAS time was upon me and I was looking into my options - the panic and frustration hadn't settled in just yet. I hadn't even settled on a course. I knew I wanted to do something creative and combined, that was pretty much it.

'So I asked my parents about this course at UEA, y'know because Matt Smith went there...' my friend gabbles away in my ear, 'it's Drama, but combined with Creative Writing. How cool is that?! It's perfect for us! But... My dad says it's too wishy-washy, and that I should do English instead...'
I search UEA (because imagine going to the same university as Matt Smith!) and find that yes, this seems to be a real and legitimate course. How odd. I told myself I gave up my dreams of becoming a writer ages ago, when I decided to focus on something more realistic - you know, like acting.
Seeing that there was a course combining my two true loves, however, like actually seeing it there in the special UCAS font surrounded by the obnoxious red... It could be everything I ever wanted.

I dreaded asking my parents. I'm not sure why, maybe because my friend on the phone who had a mother who spent all her time baking and a father who actively believed in the existence of Sasquatch, wasn't allowed to do a super-creative and arguably less-than-reputable degree. My parents, for the most part, have both feet firmly on the ground, and want the best for me. My grandparents want a granddaughter with a career they can tell their friends about and not get embarrassed - like teaching, for example, and frankly I can think of nothing worse. I'd already accepted the fact that I'd probably end up doing a degree in English, followed by a Masters or some kind of teaching qualification, at a nice campus uni not too far from home.
So when my Dad was looking through the UCAS website and whatever higher education material was available to him (namely the stacks and stacks of prospectuses on the coffee table), and he called out 'hey Grace, I think I've found a good course for you!' just imagine my delighted shock when he shows me a page in a prospectus saying Drama & Creative Writing, BA (Hons). I'd worried for nothing; my parents knew this was what I wanted and they weren't about to stop me from going for it. I'm one of the lucky few students/teenagers/people with a supportive family; a lot of friends I've made on my course have siblings pursuing careers in Medicine and Law, and they've told me how inferior they are made to feel by their parents and family friends. The dreaded words 'I want to be a writer/actor/dancer/artist' are met with patronizing looks and harsh so-called 'realities', and as a result, some never follow their dreams. 

I'm sitting here, with my lilac hair that my mum loves and the nose stud that she recommended I get, writing a piece of work for my degree that my parents let me pick and love hearing about all the time, preparing for my sister's impending visit and looking at a 'You've Moved House!' card from my grandparents on the fridge. Just appreciating how fortunate and supported I am in all that I do.
I'm a very happy Arts student.

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