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Monday, August 15, 2011

Reality and What's Real

I just read a blog post about comparisons.  An artist making a point that comparing yourself to others has the potential to make you feel better than someone or less than someone.  It is that very comparison that we cannot avoid.  We do it on so many levels of our everyday existence:

1. "Will I ever be able to sew doll clothes without gluing on the hard parts? That other artist doesn't seem to have to glue anything..."

2. "Why can't my butt/abs/arms/eyes/hair (insert any body part here) look like that!"

3. "Duh, you should already know all the uses for crépe streamers!"

4. "How can some people be so dang calm/create so many pieces/be such a genius?"

5. "I wish I could afford a California Closet studio!"

6. [your comparisons here]

 I'm usually left dis-empowered or feeling like a jerk for thinking I'm better.  Sometimes (read "most times") I know I'm right about this or that.  I can see all the reasons I'm right OR if I'm wrong, I can see all the evidence proving how right I am about how wrong I am.  Being human is so wonky!

Comparisons when regarding art are a foregone conclusion.  The brain can't help compare one artist to another (your stuff looks like that artist) or mediums (this is REAL art; that is just craft.) or any other myriad ways to compare.

Since comparisons are part of our animal history (The ewe chooses the best of the rams after they butt heads, the pea hen chooses the best/biggest-showing peacock.....), we cannot help compare this to that, me to that, that event to this event, his to mine, hers to his, theirs to ours.  I even wonder if this blog post will be as well-received as some other blogger that is SUCH a great writer/artist/model/son/gardener/forensic pathologist/ice cream maker/immaculate-studio artist.

This is just a reminder for me to keep all these comparisons in perspective. My self-esteem is designed to depend on others' opinions, assessments, judgements and MY comparisons, opinions, assessments, judgements only because of the culture in which I've been raised.  Luckily, I'm not stuck with this hand. My point of this is to keep some objective perspective.  Just because you or someone has an opinion doesn't mean it's "real".  While it definitely is an opinion, it isn't necessarily factual or scientifically measurable.  Comparisons as a whole are like this, too.  I need to be reminded every day (more like every hour) that I am the way I am.  I'm not him, her, it, them.  I'm only me.

Comparing is like worrying - it's a misuse of the imagination.  It's a waste of energy in all ways, always. But since comparisons are here to stay, I may as well use them. I can be inspired, challenged, encouraged and adventurous because of comparisons as long as I use them for that and not for "evil" [see above].

I see this posted all the time on blogs and noticed the same thought came up for myself,"I haven't blogged in a while because I didn't have anything really good to post and you don't want to hear my daily life - yawn..." (3 comparisons in one sentence!) and now I write a new post waxing philosophical!  Feel free to compare.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great post Dennis. I think a lot of people will benefit from reading it. I did :)

    Have a wonderful evening!