What's Up Weirdo? Or, Do You Consider Yourself Normal?
Mar 09, 2021
Are you 'one of those'?
It’s interesting how others view us differently from how we view ourselves. I was talking to a friend recently who used the word ‘niche’ to describe herself. When I asked her to explain, she said she sees herself as very different from other people – but that words like ‘unusual’ or ‘different’ have such a negative connotation she won’t use them to describe herself. Hmm.
As an artist, I’m pretty familiar with labels like different, weird, strange, unusual, creative. The best is when ‘creative’ (a lovely and exciting word) is used as a put-down (are you one of those creative types?). And, of course, there’s the common phrase ‘starving artist’ that gets batted around whenever the subject of the arts comes up. There are far too many negative words attached to the people working to make a living in the creative arts.
Are artists happy people?
Most artists I know are happy people who love what they do. Of course, there’s always the self-inflicted and tortured few. But overall, artists are no more irresponsible, addicted, tortured, broke, or promiscuous than any other group of people I know. It’s definitely more challenging for artists to make a living - there’s no road map to creative achievement. But that means artists have to work all the harder for their success. Does that make them weird or different? Maybe – but it also makes them courageous, tough, and resilient.
Society can be judgmental - wait, what?!
Our society is voracious in its appetite to consume the arts. Yet society also has a complicated love-hate relationship with its artists. Sometimes artists are revered for their work (or its message). Other times they’re condemned for it. Artists can never tell which way things will go; they have to keep working at creating and selling their art, just like other entrepreneurs. It isn’t easy to figure out who or what will be the next big trend, and success can sometimes be fleeting. But successful artists have learned to keep at it, honing their craft, studying new techniques, and adding to their skills. Labels be damned.
And I have to admit, I like being one of those creative types. ✨
Photo credit: Karen Tuveson