Do you feel “special”? Do you long to feel special? It seems to me that people strive so hard to be special, to be exceptional. Ordinary is for losers…or at least that is the message we seem to get from society.
I’ll admit that I share this obsession. Maybe part of my problem started with being an overachiever in grade school. I always had to be the fastest, the best in my class. I went to all the gifted programs and was praised for exceptionally high standardized test scores. I was highly competitive and a horribly sore loser…something I still struggle with to some extent lol.
The problem is that when you are told all the time growing up how “exceptional” you are, it sets you up for unrealistic expectations in the real world. In the real world, it isn’t always the smartest, the most talented, or the hardest working that succeed, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.
From my experience, the ones most likely to succeed are the ones that have wealth and powerful families behind them. Yes, some people do manage to crack the glass ceiling alone by sheer luck or being at the right place at the right time, but the majority at the top of any enterprise are generally those with connections the rest of us could only dream of.
Of course, you can focus on the feel-good, conciliatory message that “everyone is special”, which is undoubtedly true in some ways, but when I hear that, I always think about Dash from the Incredibles asking, “If everyone is special, is that really just a way of saying that nobody is special?”
Today I was inspired by a blog post from Judith over at Artistcoveries, in which she asks the question – Who do I want to be as an artist? I love thinking about stuff like this, so I wrote the question down in my journal and brainstormed my own answers. Here is what I came up with:
Who do I want to be as an artist?
- Unafraid to experiment
- Unafraid to offend
- Unafraid of mockery
- Confident in my creative abilities
- Willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of my art
- Use the materials I love, not feeling forced to use what is considered artistically “professional”
- Confident enough to charge what my art is worth (probably one of the hardest parts of being an artist in my opinion)
- I want to be loved and respected by other artists and art lovers, especially those in the autism, bipolar, and outsider art worlds
- I want to create what I like
- Overcome my fear of doing in-person art events (currently hindered by my crippling social anxiety)
- Monetarily successful enough to rely on my art for my general income
Do you relate to any of these wishes? Who do you want to be as an artist?
I’ve been severely depressed the past couple days. Two nights in a row I’ve been teary and weepy and feeling very much alone. Late last night I lay curled up on the bathroom floor crying, a position I often find myself in when depression gets severe.
I do have the support of a wonderful husband and he spent probably a good hour yesterday listening to me cry and talk about how I’m feeling. Sadly, he struggles with much of the same issues I do, so I always feel bad unloading on him because it brings out the same feelings in him that I’m suffering with.
I think what is getting to me the most is just the desire for a loving, supportive family, which I simply don’t have. Most of my immediate family is dead, only one member is still living and they seem to not be talking to me right now for some unknown reason. In some ways it might be best if we don’t talk since the constant ups and downs of the relationship really affect my moods, but it is still not easy to know that your only living close relative doesn’t seem to want anything to do with you or seem to care about you.
I wish I could replace those family relationships I have lost, but where do you find family if you don’t have one? You can’t exactly go shopping for one or even expect friends to step into those positions (if I even had friends). Sure, I could make friends if I tried harder maybe, but it still wouldn’t be FAMILY. It wouldn’t fill the huge hole in my heart left by those who have left me.