Just a Square in a Sea of Circles

So this afternoon I was standing in the paint department of the local craft store… Dreaming… Staring at a wall of colors that I can only dream of having in my palette… A guy wearing all black and one of those fancy french hats joined me in the aisle… This was surely an accomplished artist, the way he kept looking at me… giving me dirty looks… I could see in his eyes that he was “judging” my artistic ability based on the brand of paint that I was looking at…

  • Since I quit using heroin, I seem to have developed a bit of a “fuck the world” mighty-might, attitude problem. *as my girlfriend likes to call it* I have been in several situations lately, situations that I would have taken a “passive aggressive” attitude towards in the past… Apparently that is not an issue anymore… Now I apparently have no problem asking men twice my size what their fucking problem is… Is it a good thing? Probably debatable… But I like to think it’s a damn good thing…

Anyway as I was preparing to unleash five feet of pure and vulgar hell on this guy, he looked at me and smiled… He then asked me if I knew where they kept the chalk, he explained that although he could tell I wasn’t an employee… I looked like an artist and he figured I would know where they kept it…

Imagine that, I thought he looked like the unapproachable artist… For all I know he was thinking the exact same thing about me… I almost declared war on this guy while standing in the artists paint aisle at a craft store… Why? Because I thought he was judging me as an artist… I thought he was the asshole that “looked” like an artist, an artist that was judging my artistic ability without ever seeing my work… Funny thing is… I was the one judging!

What does an artist look like anyway? Apparently I look like an artist, but I rarely feel like one… Which brings me to the point of this post… I lack serious confidence… I rarely feel confident in public situations… I don’t know why, I used to eat acid with the explicit goal of being around as many people as possible just for the experience of mental chaos.

I consider myself a nerd, my idea of a nice Saturday night includes beer, cigarettes, TV, and time to work on a painting or a blog post.

  • Although I no longer do heroin, I have taken a very non-traditional approach to my “recovery”. I still smoke… I still practice “herbal” remedies… And I still drink beer… I don’t care what anyone says… I have been to rehab so many times it is embarrassing, every time to no avail… And I can honestly say that I think our current method of “recovery” is complete bullshit… Like the last thing an addict needs is to be thrown in a room with 20 other people who have the same fucking problem… I will write about this in great detail someday… Anyway!

I am a little-big ol’ nerd, a square I guess you could say… When I get around other artists and their work… Well lets just say my asshole tends to pucker up a little bit… I become speechless, and the mental comparisons begin… I look at other artists work and it makes me feel talentless and small…

I am beginning to think that although I loathe this feeling, it may be a feeling that I need to embrace… I need to accept the fact that I am rarely the only square in the room, that a lot of other people probably feel the same way I do… Awkward… Scared… And small…

I need to be proud of what I have become, I may not be “successful” in the traditional sence, but I am doing ok if you factor in the fact that I should probably be dead… Confidence will come back to me slowly… Luckily I have incredible family, friends, neighbors… And even though this will give her a big head… I also have a great girlfriend…

Some people will be confidence builders in your life, and some people will tear you down… Though in most situations you will probably find that most people will want to build your confidence, only a very select few will try to break it… Surround yourself with the good ones… Because life is way to short to fuck with the people who only aim to tear you down…

squares need loving too – chriscondello

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14 thoughts on “Just a Square in a Sea of Circles

  1. steven1111 says:

    I can so relate to your post about being an artist but not feeling up to being judged as one by other artists. Especially since my “Art” is making gardens, a non-traditional art that most people think of as “artisanship” rather than pure Art. And I can’t take it anywhere and show it off so I am stuck with my own memory of who I am and what I can do and create. I think it’s beautiful and so do people who see it, but they are few and far between. I have a bit of that fuck you attitude myself and often have to keep my mouth shut or blow it as you almost did. You write well what is in my own mind. Support is everywhere it’s true, you just have to allow it in. Thanks for this. And for liking my site…..
    Peace to you,
    Steve

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  2. buckylb says:

    I’m so glad the guy in the paint department surprised you! We just never know where we will have those positive interactions. Cool post!

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  3. I enjoyed this text.

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  4. Anita Mac says:

    To each their own…his judgement doesn’t matter! And success is in the eye of the beholder…don’t ever forget that!

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  5. You done good! Keep on fighting the good fight… and thanks for taking a glance at my post.

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  6. coreymp says:

    A well written post. I felt every word and I appreciate the honesty. I agree that we must surround ourselves with good people. People we admire and people who inspire us and believe in us.

    Keep writing.

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  7. bcumings1973 says:

    Success is hard to measure. Sure the person who is the CEO if big bank XYC is “successful”, but I’m also pretty sure he’ll be morally corrupt and is probably financing the destruction of our planet. To me, that’s not anything I want to become and is not successful.

    I find success in growing something new from seed, making the worst places better, lending a helping hand to a stranger, watching out for somebody who can’t speak for itself (mother nature). Chris, you, our successful. Be proud of it!

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  8. Diana says:

    A fellow Pittsburgher… weee ! I just read a couple of posts, and I do admire your candor. {I’m all for alterations of consciousness, when the time and place are right. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, man}.

    Btw, I took straight-up morphine for post-surgical nerve-damage thing I have- and going off it (a long story), was the lowest period of my life, + the hardest thing I have ever done.

    Now, I just use the holy herb. Never have done hallucinogens, somehow, but always wanted to.

    Learned how to grow cannabis the past couple of years – incredibly fun + rewarding. Who knew ?! (Also blooming poinsettias !)

    As for art, I could say a lot about that. 🙂 But for the moment, just this: be true to yourself, and you can’t go wrong. Studying fine art in college was probably one of the worst ideas I ever had – in some ways. I have learned more about it on my own, + in these, my middle-aged years, than any school ever taught. Once you learn how to learn, and think, on your own, the possibilities are endless. Confidence comes from doing, doing, doing.

    Thanks for visiting. I’ll be checking you.
    Diana

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  9. great post, i hate it when peeps make an assumption about me as an artist, because i fought terrible block/suicidal anxiety levels to get where i am, but i am also too quick to assume a college based artist may be dismissing my textile art as craft… i also make loner recovery so i salute you for finding your own way 😉 just a word of warning about herbals though, skunk can cause psychosis, i’ve seen it in my stepson…gardening is such a great balancer though, i can’t imagine you’re using it like him…i still hope his love of nature will bring him back out of the fog one day though.
    all good wishes 😉

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  10. I admire the candour with which you write. Congratulations on a great blog site or, as we Australians like to say, “good on ya, mate”!

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  11. Thanks for your honest post. I recognize what you experienced in the isle of the crafts store as a paradigm shift. I often share that same experience when your own, past perceptions of yourself dictate what you think other people think of you. I remind myself that people don’t know any old me, they know the now me. And another thing: adversity creates character – I’ve always believed that. It’s what you do with the lesson’s you’ve learned that counts.

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