Kaitlyn Jo Smith

Drifters Like Me

Life is a series of definite things. I was born, I was a baby, I was a toddler. I went to preschool, elementary, junior high, high school and then college. I worked four part-time jobs until I worked a nine to five that now has me working eight to ten. This is normal, this is where most lives hit pause until they resume at retirement and eventually, inevitably, death. I am not satisfied with this and so I continuously chant the honeybee mantra, nothing is permanent and we are in control of our lives, over and over inside of my head.

I think that a lot of times being unsatisfied is considered being ungrateful. This is not always true. I am incredibly grateful for where I have been and where it has brought me. I am so happy with my present and what it is teaching me, but I do not want this to be the final rung of my ladder. Looking ahead does not prevent you from looking around. Being mindful of the future leads to opportunities, to stepping through doors others have yet to realize are open. I love adventure and spontaneity. Nothing is set in stone and everything is within reach.

It has been half a year since graduation. In those six months I have moved, traveled to thirteen states, worked four part-time jobs and then a full time one, begun two new bodies of work and one wonderful collaboration. I have stepped foot into a professional realm, started towards the path of having my own career and I still want to be an artist. I think I am learning what I always knew, that I am a runner, a wanderer, a hopeless romantic and a dreamer. These are not juvenile things, they do not make me unprofessional, unreliable or naive; they make me me. I have been blessed to cross paths with similar beings, folks who refuse to settle for normalcy, who’s souls are free, who are drifters like me.

It was with two of these ladies that I drove to Chicago last weekend. They picked me up from work at nine in the evening, opening up the door to my black two door Sebring, I climbed in behind the driver, buckled up and drank a mountain dew. Some hours later, through the flat, nothingness of Indiana at night, we stopped at a motel, showered and slept. The next morning we drove into the city; it was at least seventy degrees and there was not a cloud in the sky. We parked without any hassle and so the precedent was set for our day: sunshine, pizza and nameless faces in an unknown city.
The whole point of our journey was to attend graduate portfolio day at SAIC. It felt so wonderful to discuss my practice with new people, curious people, accomplished artist and educators. My fate was not sealed but new options arose. A geographical move seemed much more attainable after that morning and my decision to stay in Columbus a little bit longer to work and save was validated. Nothing is permanent and we are in control of our lives.
The rest of the day we were tourists, prancing through Millenium Park in a shower of golden leaves and sun. We walked to the car, waved goodbye to the skyline, and drove back towards Ohio, arriving home around midnight, full of newfound hope, fresh ideas and optimism.


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