I'm a huge fan of Wicked. I can totally relate to the misunderstood introvert Elphaba. Especially during the scene when bubbly Glinda gives her a make over to make her Popular. I've never had anyone do that to me. I think I'd be simultaneously insulted and grateful for such help. Being deemed worthy of being someone else's project. Fortune favors the Glindas out there, for sure, and now where does that become more obvious than in the world of marketing. A world that I am decidedly not at home in.
One of the major reasons I've been drawn to art (ba-dum ching) my whole life is that it give me something to hide behind. People don't look at me when they look at my artwork. They don't criticize me, they criticize my work. Even though I put so much of myself into what I do, there's still a protective degree of transference that keeps me safe. Now I'm being told I not only have to market my work, I have to market myself as an artist.
"Sell yourself!" the faceless advice blares. I have a small heart attack. Me? What's so great about me? Seriously, where is that invincible sense of entitlement that my generation is supposed to be so famous for? As far as I'm concerned, I'm just a person. I feel like I put all of my best into my work and what's left over is just that: leftovers. Just me, a normal human being. Pay no attention to the girl behind the curtain! You'll only be disappointed by her normalcy! Apparently drawing you a picture and then going home and reading my book is not an option if I want to get the next job, or then next one. Gotta boost those stats on TwitPinBlogFaceInterGoogle.
It's not that I have low-self esteem. It's more like I have totally neutral self esteem. While I think my art is good and worthy, I think personally I'm just totally average. I'm fine. I think this is what the world told me my whole life. I'm naturally shy and introverted, but if you talk to me, I'm relatively funny and more than averagely intelligent. My company is enjoyable if you can remember to invite me to the party in the first place. I've always been "that girl who sat behind you in AP English...maybe?" I was just pretty enough to avoid being bullied, was willing to do more than my share of the lab work, and just athletic enough not to piss off the team. But never anybody's first choice. People always seemed surprised to see me there once partners had been joined and teams picked. But I was nice. I was sweet and kind to people. And those seemed to be the only words anyone could remember when it came time to sign year books.
My parents didn't help. My mother raised me to be a well-rounded sweet Southern Girl who was decently educated marriageable material. (Lol. How dare she, right?) A classy lady who doesn't talk about herself or brag like a tacky person. A lady doesn't grand stand. My sisters and I never enrolled in competitive sports or similar activities. I took ballet, an artful activity where one is supposed to blend gracefully into a group.
"Don't let anyone down and don't stand out". This was the core message that everything about my formative years molded me to believe. I think this is the first time I've been able to put it into words. But now I don't know what to do about it because I don't know how to be anything else? How do I make myself over into an in demand, professional, living-earning "Art-trepreneur"?