We spend our time thinking, so it comes as no surprise that what other people think concerns us. Often though, what I think and what others think are so different that I get destabilized (my word for the month). Case in point – I thought it would be a great idea to paint my shoes one day – I was tired of my plain, brown shoes, so I painted them red. And my teacher thought it was a terrible idea and I got sent to the corner of the room – what the teacher used to call “The Thinking Corner”, where we were supposed to stand and reflect on our mistakes. Except I really didn’t see what the problem was. The paint washed off. My shoes were still plain. I was in a corner. “Next time, think before you act!” said my teacher. Well, that was the problem – I did think about it.
My son Sebi and my husband share a trait – they don’t care what others think of them. They are so confident in themselves that they wear whatever they like, they do what they want, and others’ opinions matter not. When Sebi was little, I’d say “You can’t wear all purple, people will think–“ and he’d cut me off with “I don’t care what they think. I like it! Today, I’m a grape!”
My husband went fishing with the most ridiculous looking outfit, and he rode his bike right through the center of town. I watched, wide-eyed in admiration, as he pedalled away, fishing pole sticking up, bare arms sticking out of his fishing vest ‘sans chemise’, his knees sticking out of holes in his jeans. How could he not care? But he really doesn’t. He’s happy with himself, and therein, I think – lies the answer. He’s happy with who he is and how he looks, and doesn’t give a hoot how others see him – he’s happy.
I, on the other hand, agonize about what others think of me, which makes it hard to get dressed some days and even puts a curb on my writing sometimes, because it’s hard to let go and let things show that you feel might make people raise their eyebrows or frown – which leads me to the question – Are the best artists those people who don’t care what others think about them, or is it the opposite – the best artists react to the way people think of them and shape their art as they try to make it into something that will please everyone?
My husband and son will be the artists that paint what they want, when they want, how they want – and the devil take the critics. I’m more attuned to criticsm and will tend to try to please the critics. I still don’t know if this is good or bad?
At any rate, it’s wonderful to know that whatever I do paint, my husband will be there cheering me on, because even if he doesn’t care what people think about him, he takes great care to let me know he thinks the word of me.