I began this illustration with the thought that despite feeling like failure was imminent, I was going to be defiant, fight and succeed in funding my way through this PhD. I named her ‘Bear girl’. It remains unfinished, and I struggle at times in finding the fight to continue. I’m not even halfway through my first year, and often, during reflection, the task ahead feels impossible. It scares me less now, partly because a larger part of me has already resigned to failure in the event that it does happen. I knew it was a risk coming to the UK, to Cambridge, and trying. I was forewarned that the possibility of failure is high… both by people who had never taken similar risks, and by folks who have.
Yet still, I went ahead, hopeful that somehow, someway, with enough work and attempts, I’d be able to pay the way through… but imagination often fools us well beyond what reality can conjure. I still need many, many more illustration jobs, or at least one steady job of any (legal) description, to carry me through; and either of those happening feels more and more impossible as time carries on.
I had dreams of inspiring others to not give up on their dreams, through the story of succeeding in achieving my own… but reality has a way of humbling expectations. I’m scared. I blanket myself daily from this fear by trying to focus on the beautiful and what I do have, but at the back of my mind it constantly plays on that I may not have enough funds or strength to scrape by.
Perhaps though, even if I can’t encourage anyone by a brilliant success story, hopefully I’ll at least be able to do it with ‘mere’ words. As I have been telling myself a lot recently, ‘We’ll see’.