I Am My Own Complicated Story.


“Tell me your story…”

Here was I, in the corridor of that college, waiting with a lecturer for a student to pass, so the door could be opened with their security card. I anticipated I had a few seconds to make an impact with my response.

“Well, actually, I want a bit of the magic stuff you get by going to university that Sophie Heawood proclaimed in The Guardian!

You know… ‘the fireworks’, ‘sexy delicious independent thoughts’, ‘expanding your mind’, that intoxicating cocktail this journalist so eloquently wrote about in her article, ‘Education? All students ever hear is money, money, money’.”

You are laughing with me, right?  Bit off-center to the question? Too racy and zealous a comment to submit? Okay. I did answer the question, but not in this vein.

A student also opened the swing doors, and I knew, at that moment, my time was up; I did not have the pass to that course, and I had lost his interest and curious gaze.

Perhaps it was a done deal? With another colleague, he had sifted through an illustrative portfolio of mine for 40 minutes, whilst we toured the many corridors of this grand building.

Or was it because I arrived too early, so no one could tell me that the bench you are gaining your composure on is an exhibit? Was this the real test? Had this clumsy misdemeanor been fed back down the interview processing line?

In my professional life, I remember that the receptionist is a key figure and sounding board for inquisitive interviewers, who need more knowing feedback.

The fact remains, I did not get in! Who is to really know the whys and wherefores? The spark did not light between the lecturer and myself. And that chemistry is the secret to a good interview and clinching your dream!

Returning to a changed institution that I had, for a short-lived time, breezed into in my youth. It was, and is, a different scape now. I had put myself out on a limb. My guidance was my belief that I had the grades.

Yes, slightly worn and rusty. But also that crucial ingredient of having lived. I was, therefore, unstoppable!

I am not embarrassed though. And I think, the lecturer did admire my spirit and nerve for my application. My portfolio was not decimated, and I did receive unexpected guidance.

This was a somewhat clumsy, farcical experience… excuse me, it was my dream!

When something remains, and is always there — in this instance, university — we assume we have the right to revisit, to bang down the door and loudly announce, ‘I’m back!’

With no tears streaming down my face now, I realize I have been given the gift of creating a new dream with all its beautiful intricacies. Unformed, and yet to be unleashed into existence.

And if that lecturer asked me again the same question posed at the beginning of this article, I would still not be able to respond in a just way. I am my own complicated story. I cannot distill the essence of it into copy. I am me.


Keri FranceKeri France is a sensitive and strong soul, who believes in the power of creativity for personal growth. Originally a southerner, she has returned to live in Manchester, after 19 years, and has found a new confidence since her relocation.


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