About.com lists the average height of a woman in the US as 5’ 3.8”. Maybe I could achieve average if I cut off my head? The average man is 5’ 9.2”. With my head still attached, I can look the average man in the eye. When I was little, I envied my petite, blonde girlfriend and her nicely plumped out curves. I liked her blue eyes, and I liked other people’s brown eyes. What I didn’t like was my own undecided hazel eyes. I wished for curls in my hair. I wanted more pigment in my skin. What I mostly wanted was to be like everybody else.
It seems like we’re always wishing to be something we’re not. Everybody seems to be looking at others for the stuff they themselves lack, and this is all incredibly stupid of all of us because we can’t change our genetics. All we’re doing is making ourselves miserable, and the advertising industry is intent on keeping us miserable so we’ll keep buying miracle products.
I wish I could have back all the time I wasted on wanting things I can’t have. Think of the things I could’ve accomplished! Or maybe I wouldn’t have accomplished anything at all because I would’ve been so content with everything just as it was. Maybe we have to be a little miserable to motivate us into actually doing stuff?
When I was in college, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have a distinctive style. I kept looking at my classmates’ work and only seeing the best. The people who weren’t doing as well as me didn’t factor into my thoughts. All I knew was that I wasn’t the best and I wanted to be. As a result, I kept making art into defective imitations of other people’s work based on my warped perceptions. It wasn’t until I was in my junior year when I turned in an uncharacteristically hurried homework assignment when I was illuminated by the fact that my style was what came easily to me. My class and teacher loved my homework assignment. By doing it quickly, I was forced to resort to my own personal style that I had been unconsciously trying to suffocate throughout my college career. Copying someone else’s inspirational work was never going to show “my” style because they aren’t me. If something comes easily to me, then that’s coming from my core and should be easy.
That doesn’t mean everyone should quit trying to polish their skills and just do schlop. Try, practice, work at what you want to achieve. Wish for the right things. Instead of bemoaning eye color or how tall we are, let’s wish to achieve our highest potential. Not compared to someone else’s potential or achievements, but to our own abilities and successes.
Last week’s cucumber was a realistic watercolor. As I said then, I wanted to go make pickles, so I wasn’t taking time to paint. I did it with a scrubby ½” brush that happened to be lying on my desk. This week I was going to sketch my gangly younger self towering over my classmates, but somehow I ended up with towering construction paper flower instead. Both styles are me. Graphic, over decorated paper flowers are just as much a part of me as realistic cucumbers painted with the wrong brush, and I’m happy that they’re both part of me. To be perfectly honest, the flowers took a lot more time than the cucumber. Maybe I’m still hiding my wild side?