In the spirit of delving into backstory after my 3 post streak with the Crafting a Character Series, I would like to share with you a personal story of my own.
When I was 10 years old, I felt so badass for staying up until 3AM to catch a cartoon that looked like it was made with construction paper by a group of kindergarteners. But the looks were completely deceiving as it would feature some of the most potty mouthed and outrageous content I have ever seen in my life. That show was South Park, and I loved it for its simplistic art style.
I also used to love drawing as a kid, but could never draw anything spectacular or anything close to replicating my favourite cartoon characters. But man, one day I drew a bunch of my own original South Park characters and felt so proud that I could finally replicate something I liked!
I wanted to show this drawing to someone who I used to love and whose opinion I used to value. They will remain as nameless as they are heartless, but basically, this person took a quick glance at my drawings–not a single glance at me–and then said nothing at all before they started using the paper to catch their toenail clippings.
To this day, I’m filled with rage when I recall this instance in my life. The time, energy, and effort I put into this character palette page was wasted to catch the waste of this disgusting individual.
What this communicated to me was that my time, energy, and effort was a waste because no one will give a shit about what I produce. This person was my world and their negligence stained my perception of the actual world at large. It was a bomb set in my brain, ready to detonate in later years, giving me a hard time to commit to creative endeavours.
I’ve always known that I was a skilled writer, and that could I continue to improve daily, but for a long time, I used to require the external validation of others to assure me that my work was worth my time at all. As for drawing, I gave it up in favour of writing and I often wonder if I stopped drawing completely because of this incident–or even without it, I would have naturally made the trade off.
Nonetheless, I’ve been hurt by this careless person and no longer love them, nor do I care about their opinion anymore. At all. Having explored this issue in my history has afforded me the comfort in knowing that the joy I have when I create–a song, a novel, a blog post–belongs to me and only me.
Sure it matters if people like what I produce, but it doesn’t matter as much as how much I appreciate my own time, energy, and creativity.
If anyone ends up liking it, I’m glad that it resonates with them. If they don’t, that’s fine. I’m always open for criticism and improvement, but after processing this aspect of my psyche, I can now tell the difference between whose criticism matters, and whose criticism is just a replication of what was done unto me as a child. At which point, I simply dismiss it as waste. Waste that belongs nowhere near my work.
Keep your waste to yourself because my work will shine as a repellent to your cruelty.