No Arts For Trying

Dear Rad Blog,

 

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, we had this thing in school called rotation time or something. I might have made that up, but I remember there were certain sections in the classroom and we’d rotate every hour or so. Maybe it was less. Maybe it was more. Probably less. I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter.

 

What does matter is that one of the sections was the arts area where kids would draw things or color things or whatever. One of the options was to take these old magazines wrapping papers and make a sort of collage out of it. I was never the kid who colored in the lines since I sucked at it and I didn’t like drawing, so I went with that.

 

On that day, the teacher must have had a really bad day because she got really mad at the class and the rotation time was cut short. She was furious about the art section and how much of a mess we made. Really, it was just one idiot kid who spilled the glitter all over the shop, but the teacher took it out on all of us. Anyway, the point is that the teacher was looking at our art projects and picked up one in particular. It was my stupid collage and she was very mad. Called it a mess and a disrespect to the other classmates since I just put a bunch of poorly cut out things on a piece of paper. She even demanded to know who did it. I kept quiet because why should I feel the wrath? Thankfully, some moron classmate took the blame because he actually thought it was his. It wasn’t. It was mine. Did he know that? Probably not. He is a moron 7 year old. All of those collages looked the same.

 

What’s my point? It is that this convinced me that I sucked at art. I just put a bunch of things I thought were cool. I remember one wrapping paper I used had one of those Indie 500 cars on it and I used that all over the place. That’s how I knew the collage was mine since I hogged that design.

 

Then, not too many years later we had art class. We had a similar thing, but we had to make an actual scene out of it. I think I was around 9 or 10 at this point. Well, I found a car advertisement and cut that out along with a road. Then I put some guy’s picture in the driver’s side and apparently the magazine had an advertisement for cigarettes too, so I put that in my picture. The teacher got so mad at me that my ma had to come to the office. I was innocent. I see it all the time. People are smoking in their cars when they drive. It is a fact of life. Heck, I thought it was normal for people to smoke. Nope, apparently that was not the case with this teacher. She blamed my ma for teaching me bad values and my ma refuted that it is the teacher’s fault for not scanning the magazines for crap like this.

 

At this point, I just figured that all the art I ever did just caused problems, so I never bothered trying with it again. Maybe that’s why I don’t take pride in doing artsy things. Maybe it is because all my art I ever tried turned out to be no better than a baby’s art.

 

In high school, I took a creative writing class. Our final project was to write a short story. I wrote a crappy high schooler short story about the Loch Ness Monster getting a divorce. The teacher said my story had no symbolism and had no meaning. He told me to either incorporate it or I’ll get a poor grade. The whole point of the story was that there’s no meaning. At that time, it was just a symbolism for my depression or whatever you wanna call it. Edgy teen blues. Whatever. Today, looking back at what I remember of the story it has a lot more symbolism than that teacher could find in a box labeled “symbolic things.” The Loch Ness Monster is a myth and divorce is more common in life than marriage. People get married which used to have some sort of meaning, but really, a happy marriage is almost a myth like the Loch Ness Monster.

 

What I’m trying to say is that all three of these experiences were just “Chas, you’re bad at this.” There’s no backing why. They just said “Nope, this sucks.” Why does it suck? Because you didn’t like it? I mean, sure the cigarettes one is a bit uncouth and the collage was a mess, but did I know that at the time? No. It did convince me that I did bad and the reaction was enough to enforce me to never try it again.

 

The big picture is, these experiences set me up for an inferiority complex. I’m not saying they are the sole reason why, but they absolutely contribute. It was all learned from school, friends, and other environmental things like video games and whatever. When you settle for whatever pleases you and then someone complains that it can be better, it degrades thoughts. I’m a product of this lasting for years. “Oh, you beat Mario Party on easy? That’s nothing. Beat it on hard.” “Oh, you want to be a teacher? No, that’s a bad idea. You need to get your act together.” “You haven’t applied to college? All your friends are already accepted. You’re slacking.” “What’s your career goal? You don’t have one? You’re behind.” “When are you having kids? You’re not? That’s lazy and selfish.”

 

Give me a break, people. Every single authority figure in my life has always knocked me down. I don’t think it is their fault for doing that. Some people need that tough love. Me, it just brings me down. The whole uniform “you gotta push yourself” is crap. Not everyone wants to try so hard. Not everyone is forced into a mold. Not everyone wants to be forced anyway. I need guidance, but I don’t need orders. Lead me by example, yeah? Give me a thousand ways to try something. If it doesn’t work, I’ll do it a different way until it does.

 

I had a coach once who punished all the late guys. I was late because, well, because I hated being there. He made us do like laps and push ups for an hour. He said something like “you can quit now, but I don’t ever wanna see you back.” I took that as an exit window. My friend, who was also late, said “you know, that was just a way to motivate you.”

 

Great job, coach. Totally motivated me, but not in the way you expected, eh?

 

Anyway, I guess I was set up to fail my whole life. It is those who don’t mind me failing and restarting that I like. All the others can take a hike.

 

I learned from this. I’m coping with this. I don’t try 90% of the things I find interesting because if I am not good at it, then there’s no point. To mute this, I just kind of accept that I’ll never be good at anything and that I’ll just be okay at everything. No shame in that.

 

I’m gonna say this: it is hard some days. People suck the life out of me, not because talking is a chore, but ulterior motives are too competitive. Everything is meant to be harder, better, faster, and stronger. Everyone is training to be a leader, but there’s those who were never meant for that. I’m a much better companion. The thing is, if there’s too many leaders, that makes things top heavy.

 

I’ve gone on for too long. Anyway, this was just a thought I had.

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