Has anyone ever looked at you the way a painter looks at a canvas? Completely untouched, perfectly white, and utterly blank. It’s beautiful, that they can see something amazing before it’s even there. I mean why would you want to be the painter when you can be the painting? So you let them look at you that way, and you let them hang you in a gallery when they’re done with you.
The problem with this is that you are not a blank canvas. You are a combination of every day leading up to this one. You are your weaknesses and your strengths. You are the sum of every decision you’ve made and every smile you’ve put on someone else’s face. You’re not untouched or perfect, but far more interesting than something that is.
The problem with our generation is that we idealize everything. Just check your Instagram; it’s merely a representation of what your life is kinda like. We only show the world what we want them to see and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It only becomes a problem when you start idealizing yourself to the point of self-destruction. And when you idealize other people, setting expectations that they’ll never be able to live up to.
I’ve had guys look at me like a canvas, and treat me like a poem. They took who I was, put it into their heads, and multiplied it by ten. They wanted me to be the prettiest, funniest, most interesting girl in the room. They talked me up to their friends, family, and all the girls who’ve turned them down. All while I was trying desperately to be the girl that they created. And you know what, I never was.
Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is an indictment of idealization in human relationships. He creates this fabricated idea of Daisy that leaves no room for anything other than disappointment. Like Gatsby, I often find myself reaching for the unattainable green light, hoping that maybe this time I’ll get it. And while my relationships aren’t nearly as compelling as one of the greatest books of all time, they do end in disappointment.
It’s hard to stop idealizing the things around us, because we don’t even realize we’re doing. And if you’re a writer or an artist, you basically can’t help it. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses (or in our generation’s case, your favorite Instagram filter), makes everything look a lot less messy. But in doing so…
you’re not really getting to know the people around you.
And maybe they’re more like a finger painting than a Van Gogh masterpiece at first glance. But if you look close enough, for long enough, you will find the prettiest, funniest, most interesting parts of each and every one.
Perfection is unattainable, and quite frankly, boring as hell. Be every reckless, impulsive part of yourself. Be the tiniest, messy details of your edges, and the chaotic colors of your corners. And you’ll find the person who looks at you for who you are, with a desire to learn, not create.