I’m a selfish bastard.
I admitted it.
Actually, no. I take that back. I’m not a selfish bastard. I try very hard NOT to be a selfish bastard. Why? I’m really not sure. It’s a thing I’ve never tried to be, nor really had the desire to be.
Negative connotations, maybe?
Anyway. That’s going to change.
Here’s the thing. I’ve spent a lot of my young-and young adult-life, trying to be someone else. Anyone else. Anyone who wasn’t [re: isn’t] the person I was [re: am]. Why?
Beats the fuck out of me.
It started when I was a kid, I think. All those little assholes making fun of me made me look inward, trying to find and fix the Thing Which Was So Obviously Broken and wrong with me. If I fixed it, people would like me.
Cue melodramatic years of anger, self-pity, self-loathing, body image issues (which I still have), and lots and lots of time trying to ‘find myself’.
Whilst I was looking inward, paradoxically, I looked outward. I tried to find someone else I could be who wasn’t me. Disney princesses, Sailor Moon, Lina Inverse from Slayers Try. There’s a list. It is long. It does include Barbie.
Shut your face.
I could sit and blame my parents. Come on the blog with MUMMY AND DADDY DIDN’T LOVE ME ENOUGH SO MY FAILURES IN LIFE ARE COMPLETELY THEIR FAULT AND I CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE THE WORLD IS REALLY A TERRIBLE PLACE AND NO ONE LOVES ME ANYWAY *ANGST* *RAGE* *ANGSTRAGE* buuuuuuuuuut I’m not going to. My problems weren’t my parent’s fault. My mom tried as hard as she possibly could to make me understand that people are basically assholes. Especially little kids. Adults, too. The worst part is, adults know better, but with the Official Adult Club Membership Card comes Not Giving A Shit About Knowing Better And Being An Asshole Anyway.
Not every adult is applicable to this asshole bylaw, obviously. But there are a few who deserve a high five. In the face. With a chair. Material of choice is completely up to you.
Now, this post has very little to do with perpetuating the idea wherein everything is going to be rosy and unicorns for me after I publish this post. I’m not going to set out and say THE THING WHICH I’M TALKING ABOUT WILL MAGICALLY GET BETTER.
What this post has to do with is me, the person typing the thing, finally accepting the reality of a bunch of shit I’ve internalized over the years. To include:
Skinny = Beautiful/Societally Acceptable
Fat = Bad
Single – Bad/Obviously Not Good Enough
Marriage = Good/Something I Should Strive For (you’d think after an abusive ex and a divorce I’d be completely put off of the idea of marriage for FOREVER).
With these comes a bunch of other, smaller addendum’s I’ve also struggled with. I’m the worst kind of nit picker on my appearance. I’ve never been happy with it, even though I go about lying to myself and saying I am. I’m not. It’s all a lie.
Mostly because I’ve bought into the idea I must be sucha sucha weight to feel good about myself. Really, I need to not walk upstairs and have my heart thudding in my chest the entire way up. That was my wake up call to seriously reconsider my eating habits up to that point and change them. What’s happening is the old neurosis are coming back and starting to pick apart what I can make better and what I wish I had rather than seeing me for what I’ve got. I’ve ALWAYS been appearance oriented, even when I was telling myself I wanted to be valued for something OUTSIDE of appearance.
Go figure, right?
2016 isn’t just about the external, though. Not just about the need to face up to the skin I’ve been given and learning to love it. It’s about the writing and the art, too.
Here’s the thing, for those of you who have very little contact with artists or who don’t buy into the whole “sensitive artist” thing the telly and the guy in the paint store want to sell you. For the most part, artists are fragile creatures. We are. No beating around the bush. We create because we can’t shut the voices up any other way, but we hurt, too. I won’t go so far as to say we’re wracked with our own emotions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it, either.
I want to be a great artist. I am AN artist. But, not a great one. There’s room for improvement. What there isn’t room for is spending hours and hours on the goddamned internet trying to mimic a style which obviously isn’t working for me. What’s that old saying?
If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.
I’ll probably never achieve the Sakimichan level of artwork. I have to be okay with that. Sakimichan is a TALENTED woman. Holy crap on a cracker she can paint up a storm. Her art is brilliant.
But not my style.
I HAVE TO BE OKAY WITH THAT.
And, in 2016, I will be. Because I’m not THAT kind of painter. Just like I’m not the kind of writer who can write what I can’t write.
I’ve tried the superhero thing.
I’ve tried the romance thing.
I’ve tried the satire thing.
I’ve even tried blending fairy tales and superheroes and that one died right in the first long hand draft.
So much no.
But, again, that’s okay.
I have a casual love of superheroes. It comes and goes. Like the tide. I love romances when they’re written well, but have such a blasé approach to my own romantic life it’s like poking something on a petri dish to see if it moves. But I can’t write romances. I mean, okay, I can but not in the ‘this is the plot of the book’ type of way. Romance is a side story for me, not the main dish.
And that’s okay.
Because it’s about finding my style and running with it. Not someone else’s style and hitting COPY + PASTE and changing a few words around until they sound like something I would write. Or draw. Or say. Maybe even pick up and wrap in a newspaper and calling it a fish.
Yes, you say, but what kind of fish.
Then I scream MACKEREL and fish slap you. In the face. With a fish made of someone else’s words which vaguely sound like something I might write.
Point is, I’m going to spend 2016 finding MY STYLE the thing which says you, the reader, are looking at something RJ Keith did.
And, I have to be happy with that.
So, 2016 is about shutting up the voices in my head which like to criticize, chastise, and be complete dicks about everything. 2016 is about taking things slowly, patiently, and asking for help when I need it. More importantly, it’s asking for critiques and learning how to grow from constructive criticism.
Because, honey, you can have talent. Talent goes a long way to getting what you want, but all the talent in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to get torn down and build yourself back up from it.
2016 is doing exactly that.
2016 is learning how to accept myself and, more importantly, being kind to myself and learning how to grow up as an artist and a person.