"There is no future for artists. Even their survival has been questioned!"
I never forgot my mother saying these words to me when I decided to choose Fine Art as my major of university. Actually, I agreed with her. Even today, I don't think what she said is a problem, not to mention none of our family was involved in art business. It made sense that my mother came to the same conclusion. I had not enough sense at age 16 to think about why I was good at drawing because I wasn't from an art family. I just thought I might not be cut out for a good student, for no matter how hard I tried, it was difficult to discover any interesting things in the class. The only one history teacher I liked ended up disappearing in our class by some political reasons. However, there was nothing stopping me to dream about a brilliant life, although I was not a straight-A student.
I thought to myself that I had to go to college, but I couldn't find any advantages for myself in front of highly competitive GaoKao (University Entrance Examination), except drawing. Faced with the cruel fact, I had to give my mother a solid reason, I said to her: "I never ever thought, of being a pure artist, but it would be good enough to be an art practitioner in the future. That's all!"
Finally, my mother agreed, for she thought it sounded like a realistic and reliable reason. The following tale was to start an unforgettable art-exams career in my life, which lasted three years. I spent my junior and senior year of high school and the next year preparing to enter college of art. It was the first time I had felt my life was meaningful, during which time I had an amazing experience being an excellent student! Besides enjoying high school for the first time, I learnt professional drawing and painting skills.
Perhaps I was branded by the words that my mother had warned me, or maybe there was always a strong awareness about the future in my mind. After entering university, to make sure not to be a pure artist, I started quite early to learn various design software for preparing future employment opportunities, though I majored in oil painting. That is to say, over the four years in college, I focused more on programming my future career than specializing in my major itself. Interestingly, while I realized more and more not to be a pure artist, I came to a growing realization that my mother was actually a natural artist.
Female Country | Years - Youth
I believe it was the artistic qualities that made my mother sensitive. My mother was so sensitive that people called her crybaby. When she thought her dignity was hurt or privacy was eroded, her tears began flowing, and she would sob for a day or night rather than cry it out. Sometimes her tears were running heavily, but the others didn't even know they offended her. Finally, they kept her at a distance.
So, my childhood memories are of my mum was always being lonely and she had been crying.
Unfortunately, my mother's tears didn't arouse my father, but it did enlighten me to become increasingly sensible. When I was a kid, I was so afraid that I just wept with her for company. When I grew older, I started to try comforting her. When I got more sensible, I got to know more and more about the mother, who had been always considered narrow minded and oversensitive. That is the kind of person she really was and still is. If I wouldn't have chosen art, then I might never have got a chance to touch her world of emotion in her deep heart, which was pure and full of passion. She was ingenious, but inarticulate.
My mom’s tears were her only weapon to stand up for her dignity. The pity was that she remained quiet while sobbing which was always interpreted as weakness. Her love is the was once-in-a-lifetime type of love. She loved deeply, passionately and unreasonably, and she had no regrets how deeply she loved, even if she got nothing in the end. This is how she loved my dad.
She did not receive anything from my dad and her family. So eventually, she just put everything behind her, and left. Having suffered pain and sorrow, such the steadfast will as if her former life was really like a dream. When the dream awoke, she put herself together and took a breath, then made another one, but this time, she never cried again. As a mother, it seemed she was a bit innocent, but I'm so proud of that, to have such a sincere and strong mother.
Someone might point out that I am just as a daughter to air familial affection so that I was unconsciously letting my story become sentimental. Well, maybe they are right. It's like my mother always stares at bleary and tousled me and says with a smile: "What a lovely girl!" Even though there are only us at home, and I am so embarrassed that I criticize her immediately: "You know what? You are in the terminal stage of mummy-cancer. You have to cure yourself." To which my mother responds: "No! I gave up treatment."
True, it's natural and normal for the deep love between mother and daughter. However, it's not easy to say NO to the former life. Time greyed her hair, but the flaming colour in her heart never fades. She is not only my mother, but she is also my best friend and my dearest partner.
I always think life is fair. My mother has an eye for beauty but does not have a silver tongue. She has a pair of clever hands which can weave a splendid life. In her whole life, only a few times did she buy clothes for herself. Almost all of her clothes throughout the years were made by her. She is not only an outstandingly able woman, in my eyes, but the rarest quality in her is that she has been striving for excellence in all aspects. Perhaps her eye for beauty was so keen, such that whatever kind of handcrafts, she saw she could figure its secret with a glance. Anyway, she always can grasp the essence of various handcrafts in a short time. However, what impressed me most was that there was something like a fire in her has been burning under the apparently calm surface, despite her job having nothing to do with art. Furthermore, she never ever thought she would be involved in an art business someday. In my memory, her hands were always full of work, either weaving or embroidering or making endless needlework in front of a sewing machine.
Besides her own stuff, there were tons of free requests from relatives and friends. Every time when festivals or important events came, she ended up being busy with everything related to handwork thing. She did not know how to refuse anyone. She worked during the day and there was burdensome housework waiting her after work. The only free time she got was after dinner before going to bed. The sound of her sewing machine always stopped just after midnight, but for her it was a welcome and joyful way to end a long day for her.
Like my mother who never thought she would be an artist one day, I also didn't expect I would be a designer who works with my mother someday. I had just planned to save her from totally-wrong-life, and helped her to be herself, to achieve her full artistic talent, to enjoy her leisure, retired life. However, like all of mothers who love their children so much, she worked very hard saving money so I could go to a university, for she hoped to give me a better future. Even though she hated being an accountant, she did it for survival and my future. She just wanted to be a mother and loved her daughter with all her heart. Even afterwards, the only thing she cared was saving every penny for my future. Since I had a good job, her saving money for me is something I did not agree with.
As an adult, I was able to solve the problems of living. As a daughter, I had obligations to take care of my parents. As an independent woman, I had rights to choose what life I wanted. Anyway, I couldn't accept the dedication that she was totally self-sacrificing everything. In my opinion, she was wasting her life! Not only was I angry that she was too stubborn to embrace her talents, but I also felt that her devotion to people whom she loved burdened her so much. Many people laughed at her for being too sentimental. Indeed, as my grandmother said that she was moved very easily. Maybe the way she loved was consider not normal, rare, but in my eyes, it was as precious as diamonds. It's because I could see the rarest qualities in her.
My mom devoted herself unconditionally. At times this caused her grief. She believed in goodness no matter how many times others thought or acted differently. She had a desire to create beauty no matter how many hardships she had to go through. Well, perhaps everyone couldn't be moved by her, but I was deeply moved by all of what she'd done.
Our relationship was getting deeper and deeper along with understanding growing between us. Also, the truth of "Like Mother Like Daughter" let me know more about myself. I was struggling in workplace for 5 years. I had a well-paying job and I was considered to have a bright future, though I did lots of stupid things like offend my boss for sticking to my points. When everything carried on very much smoothly, but I felt as if I was losing the direction of my life. I felt a disquiet growing in me when I entered a comfort zone, partly because there was always a voice from my heart calling me to return to art.
However, the reality told us that it will be very tough to be a pure artist. After thinking a lot, I decided to go back school, for I wanted to be an artist manager or something like that, which sounded more reliable, then I could help my mother to be a real artist. I acted immediately when this idea occurred to me. So, I started another art-exams career which was tougher. For those who majored in fine art at college, it was very difficult to get Master's degree of theoretical majors, but it seemed the difficulties never stop me from what I wanted to do. Hope was everything. At the time my mother didn't believe what I said about her being an artist. She thought it was nonsense, but she supported me totally. Meanwhile, she was getting to know better and better why we understood each other so well.
Sometimes even some casual words from others can light a fire in our hearts so that we change our lives. Actually, it's not the words as much as how much magical they are. You just need to be the person who you should have been. Before you know who you really are, you are just waiting for a moment, a light, a KEY to open your heart at the right time. After that, you find everything is new. Surprisingly, I was the key that opened my mother's new life. On journey to be a designer, the most sensitive part of her heart was triggered. After rivers of tears running from her eyes, she knew who she was and embraced herself at last.
Female Country | Years - Mid-old age
I particularly wanted to tell an inspirational story, and encourage people to believe that God rewards the diligent. You see, I resigned from my job to pursue postgraduate school. For three years I worked, but was not accepted. With the overwhelming fear of failure around me, my mother said: "All of what you've done was worth it. Your purpose was for acquiring knowledge, which you already achieved. These test results prove nothing because you never know what will come along next. If you really cared about the degree then you wouldn't have resigned from a good job. You said you wanted to be an artist manager. Alright, then please start it by teaching me!"
At that very moment, she was my KEY.
I know there are many people waiting to read a story about success. Unfortunately, it seems only failures we can share. But what defines failure and success? Anyway, what's even more amazing was that over the past eight years in our secluded life, we found inner peace and felt full of energy. Maybe that's the reason we were called by art.
Being yourself, and you would gain a stronger self! Is it a kind of a success?