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  • Writer's picture~jax~

Will & Whim: How I Got Here

Duke Chapel, Duke University - Durham, NC

I went to college with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist. That changed on the first day of class when my chemistry lab instructor said “do experiment one” then left the room. I barely knew the campus, let alone the layout of the lab. His instruction immediately scared the life out of me as well as my confidence in getting into med school. I crossed psychiatry off my list and set my sites on grad school in the field of psychology. This would work.

But that changed too. My last semester in college I had a whim to take an acting class and to my surprise (and my parents') the acting profession claimed me before grad school could. Not a bad fit for someone like me, ever curious about how the mind works, what motivates our behavior, and the choices we humans make.

For many wonderful years, as I created characters on the stage, in film, and on television, I learned so much more about myself than I had in any psychology classroom. My toughest challenge was building the necessary muscle to constantly look for work, but it was worth it. I was convinced I had found the thing I was "meant" to do - act. It felt like home.

My mom and me.

My biggest fan was my mom who clipped every review and article, who loved seeing me perform. And at times when the jobs got thin and bills were due, she would quietly give me a hundred when I’d tell her fifty would help plenty. When she passed away unexpectedly, it rocked my world in every way imaginable. Eventually, I realized a “real” job was in order. Time to grow up.

Jackie Schlicher, Creativity Coach

Real jobs were challenging and, like looking for shoes that fit just right, I tried on several. Many years into the hunt, I discovered life coaching. I enrolled in a coach training program which led to certification and my business as a creativity coach. Twelve years after that, I stepped into my backyard one day and, out of the blue, knew deep in my heart it was time to let my coaching wind down. And it did.

A few months later, another whim snuck up on me. Like the ones before it, it was not something I'd considered or even done before. This whim showed up in the form of a pottery class.

That first class led to a second, then another, and another which led to my joining a pottery co-op where I rented studio space. The co-op included a gallery to display and sell my work and a talented and supportive community of artists. When I bought my wheel, it was official. This whim of a blind date had turned into a committed relationship.

That was eight years ago and counting. Naturally, the learning and inspiration are ongoing. I’m as comfortable sitting down at my wheel and making pots as I was stepping in front of a camera or onto a stage. Every job I've had has taught me a different language to expresses who I am, whether as a student, actor, "nine-to-fiver," or business owner. The bottom line - whim or will, whatever I do I'm meant to be creative. That's what got me here.

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Hi Jackie,

Reading part of your life-story reminds me of our young & adventurous days together as the neighboring daughters of two Fisk University Professors. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me and it’s such an honor to say “hey I knew Jackie Welch from back in the day”.

Create on my Dear Friend,

Daphne Driskell-Coles


Daphne! Thanks so much for the comment and encouragement. It truly warms my heart to hear from you and certainly to remember all the creative adventures of our days on Fisk's campus. Those experiences played such a huge part in where I've landed. And of course you and your family are key players in that history. There's more gratitude for all of it than I can express!

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