Sunday, January 8, 2012

209. Creative Chameleon

I'm going to be honest. I'm freaking tired. I just spent my evening at Punch Drunk Comedy drinking beer with my Wizard. Then I come home and stuffed my face full of pretzels, peanut butter, and swiss cheese. Not all at once, just switching off between peanuts and cheese on pretzel sandwiches...I remember getting exercise. Many months ago. Or even a year ago, when that exercise came at regular intervals and all year round. Those were the days. But back to this evening, and the point of this post...

There's this fandom thing that I hate about myself, where whenever I am surrounded in other people's creativity, I want to partake of said creativity too. If you put me in a room by myself, I'll immediately revert to photography, doodles, and on occasion, poorly crafted poetry, because that's me.
I think.

Or maybe that's just the lazy portion of myself, in which I choose to shoot photos because it's instant gratification, and not necessarily because it's my natural talent. Or I sling words around because it's satisfying without actually having to try. While that question remains unanswered (in my mind), here's my point; I have definite chameleon properties, which means that the people I choose to surround myself with determines the sort of person I begin to resemble. It's not that I am intended to be anything in particular, but I am to a great extent, a product of my environment. I suspect the same could be said for just about anyone.

In a sense, that's a useful trait. I can choose to place myself among people who I admire or desire to be more like, and I will start to emulate those same qualities. But it can also be incredibly confusing, when, for example, it leads me to place myself in a situation I am less than comfortable with. Being on stage has always been one of the latter examples. I love theater. I love performance. Yet I have never been able to translate my appreciation into one of participation without becoming paralyzed by extreme terror. This sucks, because it leads me to feelings of inadequacy, failure, and incompetence that I shouldn't really feel. I think that mentally, I might be a lot healthier and balanced if I never knew there were such a thing as being the center of attention, or that a person could compete with other people and come out of it feeling superior in some way.

Still. The idea holds a lot of thrill. Like getting away with putting graffiti on a wall that doesn't belong to you, being bold enough to get on stage and perform feels like a victory. And it's one that I haven't really ever gotten to enjoy, but in the most miniscule portions. My "stage" experience is limited to things like speaking in front of 4-5 of my co-workers during a meeting at work. Or wearing a panda suit and dancing around in front of little kids, knowing full well that the suit grants me full anonymity from being recognized or remembered by anyone I encounter.

Then I go to some stupid comedy show and sit there thinking to myself that I could do better than that. Not because comedy is easy. It isn't. I just have that accursed superiority complex that makes me think I am somehow more talented and smarter and faster, etc. etc. etc., than the majority of people around me. The only reason I haven't acted on it is that I know for a fact it isn't true; that the only reason I feel that way is because I am delusional and sort of in love with myself, and that makes me believe myself when I think things like, "I could do better than that."
I'm not sure how I came to be equipped with both the exceptional ego gene and the self-defeating gene at the same time, but somehow, they seem to cancel each other out. I just end up sitting at these sorts of events thinking, "I could totally do that," and at the same time, "I couldn't possibly do that if I tried with everything I had." 
It's all very confusing, and probably the entire reason I never get anywhere.

By the way, I tried a new beer tonight. It's Scottish, and made out of seaweed. Quite good, really, I recommend it if you get the chance.


Joshua De La Noco said...

I wonder sometimes how anyone is ever consistently happy. I'm suspicious in fact that no one really is. I've had no close encounters with evidence to contradict it. Sure I've met people who claim that they're always happy. But I think those people are liars.

I say that to say this. I share with you the superiority complex with the cancelling out "I suck" gene. Mine is with singing, art, and adult conversation. Don't know why we have it. I suspect that the metaphor of the angel/devil on the shoulder is just a manifestation of that battle we all see within. The problem with the angel/devil look is that it comes with too much judgment. A healthy amount of ego mixed with some humility can take people a long way. So... I'm rambling but I'm saying both genes might just their place.

I DO NOT think taking photographs as cool as the ones you take is a waste of talent or time however and I just want to take a moment to make that explicit. Your photos rock and though they seem easy to you, that's because it's a talent. An in-explainable gift.
I think I get a similar feeling to you when I go to art shows. I'm always walking around thinking "ooh... let me take that shot" Then I do. The picture looks nothing like what was in my eye or imagination. So. Shit. Guess that's no great skill of mine. And it gets so way worse when I draw. Piss and shit exploding on canvas.

Anyways, not to get all sappy but I think you're pretty talented and smart and funny. Everyone who is smart and charismatic is a chameleon as well. It's a survival trait that can lead to contradictions of self if we think about it too much.

Finally... fuck it, if you wanna jump on stage, take an improv or acting class. Trust me - you'll be surrounded by people who you'll immediately realize "Oh yeah, I can definitely do better than that." And you will be correct. Or better yet - actually jump onstage at a live performance. You may piss a few people off but that, would be fucking epic.

Super Milk-Chan said...

That's a pretty enormous compliment, Josh. Thank you. It means a lot to me.