Tuesday, 4 August 2015

 To be frank. 

I used to do this thing where I measured my 'success' by what a younger version of myself would think. Specifically 18-year old Marike for some reason. I'd think, woah, if I told young Marike that I'd be dating the boy whose initials I wrote on the Biology desk, she'd be so happy! If I told young Marike that I'd become an artist, she'd be so excited, if young Marike saw the wedding pictures, the first solo show, this party, this group of friends. 

And then one day I realised I'd completely outgrown young Marike. 
Who cares what a 18-year-old thinks of my life? And the reality set in that 30-something Marike doesn't actually like young Marike. I'm mortified when I think of who I was in high-school, my opinions, my world view, my human interactions, my attitudes toward just about everything. 
And that's fine, because I've finally caught up with myself. 
I stopped living for the future, and living in the past, and right now I can actually evaluate myself and by my own standards. Look at myself honestly, and change the things I don't like, and rejoice in the parts that I do. 

Which brings us to those motivational pinterest posters people post on facebook. They post these weird idealised things that range from very personal to very aggressive, these statements that they seem to think are about themselves, but I don't think they necessarily are, because most of the time the one they post today would be completely contrary to the one they posted yesterday. But most of them are about some form of acceptance. 
And so I've been thinking about that, and about the 'do unto others' thing, and about the different kinds of friends I have, and what I take away from hanging out with them. And what they could value in me as a friend. And there are traits in friends that I abhor, oddly, because they are generally traits I share. And how the friends I value most, whose opinions I really listen to, are generally completely unlike me. But what does that mean? Do I surround myself with them because they are different, and I need that in my life, or does all this mean I should change? And how does that kind of change work, which parts of us are intrinsic, what is personality, and what is learnt behavior? Which parts of myself do I accept, and which do I change? 
It's a very interesting place to be, if you're willing to be honest with yourself. 

So the last couple of days I've surrounded myself with art documentaries, and tedx chats about everything from art to creativity to personality. I let it all flow over me while I paint, some things stick, some go right out the window. Some artists are just dogs barking in the night, they make so much noise, and seem so desperate to find any meaning or depth, or maybe just to prove to viewers that there's meaning there. 

"It doesn't matter what kind of subject matter you take on, 
in the end it's going to be a self portrait. 
It will reveal who you are; if it's arrogant, it's about you, 
if it's pretentious, it's about you, 
don't think you can escape yourself by your choice of 
subject matter"
William Kentridge

The one thing I kept hearing was about honesty being key. And I know that we hear only what we want to hear, and of course I'm in the perfect place to hear that. But that really resonated with me today. 
Today I strive to be honest in my art. And honest in myself. And most of all to myself. 

Which to you might sound like more artists barking :P And maybe it is. But it's sincere barking, nonetheless.

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