It has been difficult. These past two days I had to bash down my ego. Yes, that damn ego grows and I don't even see it coming. Mine grew from my insecurity. Someone called it out.
He said to me,
to lessen your fear and regard for the opinion of the world, think how soon the world will disregard you, and have no more thought or concern about you than about the poorest animal that died in a ditch...
your friends if they can, may bury you with some distinction, and setup a monument to let posterity see that your dust lies under such a stone; and when that is done, all is done. Your place is filled up by another; the world is just in the same state as it was; you are blotted out of its sight, and as much forgotten by the world as if you had never belonged to it...
there is nothing in reality that more weakens the mind and reduces it to meanness and slavery, nothing that makes it less master of its own actions, or less capable of following reason, than a love of praise and honour
think about it
the world is cruel, dont advertise your vulnerability to it.
This was a response to a vulnerable post I made on facebook about my feelings on my artwork, that I was not so confident at the moment. I was also asking my friends for support online.
I was furious. I retaliated. And I wrote this,
Steffen and what exactly do you think about me?
Do you want to display that cruelty upon me to teach me not to express myself
express my vulnerability.
And what does an artist do?
And whats more, he expresses every bit of his soul in it.
Have I made myself a target for bullying?
Am I too uncool if I am expressive.
You know what this is about, this is all high school.
I am beautiful and vulnerable and so others want to punish me for being free.
Well forget it Steffen. I am free from all that coolness.
I am flying.
So then, what is expression, why do your art?
What's the point?
I do mine to show people something. I can never be silenced. No more tears now. I am free Steffen. And you are too.
You helped to teach me a lesson today, but it is not the one you intended. You helped me see the power of vulnerability. Unlike some people I don't use facebook as a means to advertise myself. I use it to connect.
And all the connections I have in this world will remain true.
Whatever the case, you have never opened up to me so I can never know what it is you intend. Even to me, are you hiding and protecting?
What is really the reality of expression in this world, where is it okay to express...Is it all these ropes tying you down to remain normal how you choose to live your life?
Nobody has power over me, I have stood naked for hundreds of people, this is a symbol of my freedom from judgement...
Even if it takes work to overcome fear, I am facing it like a warrior.
I am the same on facebook as I am in real life. I wear no cloak.
I spoke with a couple of my friends asking them to tell me what they thought about this. I even wrote a public status about freedom. One friend was supportive of me sharing my vulnerability with the world. He said I was helping people. But another, very deeply and sympathetically told me that I needed to learn ways of protecting myself such as limiting social network posts to one per day. He was being very protective of me, but it actually really hurt that he took the side of the other man, even if it was coming from a really warm place. This brought me so much confusion about my foundations in this life, and who I am, what I stand for, what I'm doing. Why do I bother, some of it self-victimizing, some of it afraid of appearing strange.
That's when I started to think I looked foolish. I spent a night crying to sleep. My dreams, though not remembered, might hold the key to why I have rethought my self, and what part of this whole debacle was just ego. I really thought I looked foolish... well, I looked foolish to myself, I suppose. Today I sent this friend a great apology. It was well written and very much in favor of trying to make peace. All in the light of what is true within me. I took full responsibility. Where does my Panic Disorder come into Play? I was anxious when I retaliated. I was not thinking clearly due to that fear. I lost control then.
But this is the email I sent in apology,
I want to apologize for the way I reacted yesterday. It was distasteful and unfair to you. You were only trying to help me. I made unnecessary assumptions about your intent. If I was truly as strong as I said I was, I would not be so quick to defend myself as if I was being attacked. If I was strong I would have accepted it humbly as constructive criticism and taken the inner meanings on privately. I regret that I displayed an emotional outburst. I am ashamed and embarrassed that you got to see me like that.
Deep down I feel that most people in the arts community that I know well dislike me because of the outburts I had last summer on this social network after my accident and the breakup with Ben and job-loss. All that hoo ha. I certainly wasn't okay. I certainly wasn't good to all those around me. I certainly hate how I reacted to all that. Anyways that's enough about me, I don't deserve to delve into this with you. But if I must apoligize for last year too, then I do.
I tried to go on today without saying this. My mind kept trying to rationalize my behavior, but slowly the foundations of my life fell apart. I couldn't stop thinking about what you said. I felt part of myself die. It was the part of myself that needed to die. I guess that might be my ego. And in that case, maybe you were right. Maybe I should try harder to keep it in check, if that's what you mean.
I accept all consequence and take full responsibility for what I have done. You are a truly remarkable person, Steffen. Ever since I first met you, could see that. How could anyone not. You were always so kind to me. One time we sat outside your art show and we shared a really nice little chat. Do you remember. And you smiled at me, it was the kind of smile that was warm. You were lit up like a firefly.
I said something about how wonderful your show was, and we talked about the possibility of collaborating.
You were just so sweet.
It's actually kind of amazing that I couldn't see it last night.
I don't know what happens after this. I remain in grievance of my mistakes and I hope to rise above and be a better friend to those around me.
I hope you will not let anything I said hurt you in any way shape or form. That would bring me so much unhappiness. I am an insecure person and again, I am deeply sorry for what I have done. I will understand if you are more comfortable without my company. If I can at least reverse the negativity I caused you, I can go on with my days in peace. Please be okay.
I wish you the most wonderful day and for every day that follows.
I have to be weary how I take criticism in the future. I really can lose control of myself at times. It brought me so much grief when I discovered my error.
It took me a full 24 hours to accept what is wrong within me. But my retaliation also helped to teach me about freedom. I am continuing to study vulnerability and social networks as a means to gain wisdom and be a better friend within my community.
I know this post is long, but I thought it might help. Have you ever suspected a friend was trying to hurt you through their advice or critique and emotionally lashed out at them?