Criticism.

There is only one way to avoid criticism:
do nothing,
say nothing,
and be nothing.
-Aristotle
Honestly, having my dreams dashed by my mother wasn’t the only reason why I’d lost my focus on art.  Yes, it is true.  Words mess with your psyche.  It certainly messed with mine.  When you combine who says it with what they say it truly makes a huge difference.
If a stranger on the street criticizes you, it may take a few hours to shrug off the comments and you move on with your life.  When your mother says them, how do you walk away unscathed?
I’m a huge proponent of therapy.  I tried therapy a few years ago.  It felt good to cry and share some of the anguish I’d experienced to a licensed professional.  Honestly, my hour was all about how I was never enough for my mother.  But back then, therapy was so hush hush.  I never told anyone about my first attempt at therapy.  It had the aura of a dirty deed like paying for sex or bingeing on powdered donuts.
My mother was always so highly critical of my decisions.  I feel as if her criticism of me has made my life less happy and less successful than I could’ve been had I had a more supportive parent.
I’d like to think that I’ve developed a thick skin because she was so critical of me.  Like she’d blistered me to a point where I no longer feel.  Like I’m numb to all sensation.

Okay. Let’s try this again.

If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.                                        -Les Brown

Ask anyone and more often then not, I have a reputation for being inconsistent.  There are times were I’m reliable and there are times were I’m not.  Honestly, it isn’t because I don’t care.  Actually, it is because I care too much.

 

These past few years, I’ve spread myself thin.  So thin in fact, that my mental & general health has suffered so much I wonder how I’m able to spend my days upright.  The one thing that pains me the most is this visible disregard for that one thing that once gave me so much pleasure, creating art.

 

I’ve always been an artist.  I drew everything I could with a simple white sheet of paper and a number 2 pencil.  I drew a lot and I drew often.  I took art courses in high school and in college.  I wanted to major in Fine Arts and be an artist.

 

Before I tell you this sad but very true story I should probably tell you my background. I’m a first generation Filipina-American.  I was born in San Francisco and I’ve lived here almost my whole life.  I spent a few years living in the Philippines under the strict but loving care of my grand parents.

 

So, there.  You have the background.  This is what my mother said the day I told her I wanted to major in art.

 

You will never be able to find a job and support yourself as an artist.  Why don’t you become a nurse instead?

 

Believe it or not, I listened to her.  I truly did.  I abandoned my courses in life drawing, portraiture and art history for human biology lecture and laboratory.  I even requested an alternate work schedule to accommodate a grueling human biology course that required me to work 10 hour days and take every Friday off for six months.  I worked my butt off in that course.  I participated in study groups and stayed late after labs to go over notes.  I cut open frogs and (unsuccessfully) memorized the parts of the human body.  I did all that and ended up with a D.  I thought this was just the starting point.  If I worked this hard and all I got was a measly D, imagine what was in store for me when I took chemistry or statistics?

 

Call me stupid but I did it to please my mother.  So, I ended up not finishing college at all. To this day, I resent my mother like crazy.  I take therapy to work through the pain and anger that had built up inside.  Even after she’d passed away this year, I’m dealing with the emotional and psychological scars of never being enough.

 

So with my biggest critic gone, what do I have to lose?