Friday, November 16, 2012

A Healthy Dose of Narcissism eg. Evita

When you're trying to create a one-person movement (aka trying to market yourself and what you do to an audience), there's something in a person's personality that is always 1) criticized and 2) required. And that thing is a healthy dose of narcissism.

Ah, yes. Take a page from The Diva, herself, who made her place in the world through sheer grit and talent.

One of my friends who shall remain nameless offered this opinion about blogs and bloggers:

"blogs=ballooned sense of importance. you don't need your own entire damn website. that's what FB is for. see: (his FB page) speaking on behalf of the blogees, nobody gives a shit about your cats or what flavor coffee you prefer. if we did, we'd probably ask you about it. we didn't ask, so don't tell. here's an idea: write in a journal, then the only person constantly lambasted by your every waking thought is you. this goes out to no one personally, just a musing. you could call it my first blog entry, if you like. PFFFFFFT."

For some, I can see how this opinion might hold true. It also may just be that the blogs this person is reading aren't catching his interest. To each their own. But I would like to use this quote from a man who is round-about poking fun at what I do to make a point. 

When you put yourself out there, when you lay yourself out on the line for public view, not all the opinions about your work will be supportive and nice. That's okay. Everyone has their own perspective. When I receive criticism, I always try to put myself in the person's shoes. Maybe your critic is just having a bad day. Maybe they're jealous 'cause they, too, are a repressed creative and can't find the courage to put themselves out there. Or maybe the medium you're working in just isn't their style. That's no reason for me or you to quit what we're doing. It's no reason for us to not be "High-Flying Adored."

For instance, personally, I don't read romance novels. I don't like the genre. I find them trite and repetitious, but I'm not going to go around criticizing people who either read or write them. I know there's a big market for them, so somebody's gotta be reading. They're not my personal style, so I just leave them be. Some people, instead of leaving be what others like that really isn't harming anyone, they feel the need to lash out. It's okay. It's not personal.

The criticism above was not aimed at me, personally. It was said, however, by someone who 1) knows I have a blog, 2) knows I have access to where this was posted and 3) said "yes" to my putting some of my stickers in his shop for his customers to pick up. Do I take offense to it? Nope. Do I have hard feelings toward the man that said it? Not one bit. He's always been nice and jovial with me. He just happens to have an opinion that runs contrary to mine. No big deal.

It would have been very easy to take this criticism personally. I've put creative efforts out into the public in the past and, when they weren't met with 100% favorable opinion, I took it hard. Very hard. For a long time, I stopped making my work public. But then I realized that, no matter what anyone else said, that I and what I was doing was pretty damned cool. As the song says, "Sometimes it's very difficult to keep momentum / if it's you that you are following."

Not everyone may agree with me, that I'm awesome, but that's okay. Not everyone thinks Madonna is awesome, but she's still rockin' after all these years.

So, sometimes, in the face of negativity, it takes a healthy dose of narcissism to look in that mirror and say, "Know what? Screw them! I'm pretty damned neat and I'm not gonna stop doing what makes me happy!" You could call it other things: self esteem, a thicker skin, or any of the myriad of other expressions. 

None of the picture of Madonna as Evita, here, are mine. They just illustrate my point so perfectly. For me, there is no more inspiring movie to watch when I'm feeling glum about criticism than Madonna's role in the movie-musical Evita. The catchy songs always seem to reflect some aspect of what's going on in my life at the time and I can say, "I'm just in 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'" or "It's just 'Peron's Latest Flame.' There's still a lot of story to go!" And that gives me the fortitude to push on.

Evita may not give you the kick in the pants you need to keep yourself going. That's all right. The movie Frida is also a great and inspiring one. Whatever you need to do -- watch a movie, put on some music and dance that negativity away -- do it! Your creative work is way too important to abandon it over someone's opinion. Chin up, babies. Forge on. Launch your own "Rainbow Tour" and bask in the glory when it comes.

"Stand back! You oughta know whatcha gonna get in me / Just a little touch of star quality" 

Until next time, dears, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

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