This post is a little different. It’s a bit personal and talks about bullying, as well as lack of family support.
I used to draw a lot more than I do now. I never took art classes and was not allowed to take them. The above was a self portrait I drew in 2003 just prior to Hurricane Isabel wiping out our town.
I’d like to think I wasn’t bad at art, but it wasn’t a talent that those around me thought was worth my time pursuing. Others felt more strongly about using my art (even if I tried to keep it private) as a means of hurting me, much like anything else they could use in that way. Sometimes I’ve wondered if things would have been different, but it’s better to not think like that.
15-17 years later I have a little perspective. As my teenage years went on, I became discouraged and stopped drawing all together. I associate creating art with people using it to hurt me. While I’ve painted on occasion since becoming an adult, I’ve found the same issues with discouragement.
The whole point of my drawings were to bring a visual from my stories to life. This meant that in high school I found myself the Editor In Chief of our literary magazine and, instead of it feeling like an honor, it felt like a bullseye had been painted on me.
At some point I stopped wanting to explain myself over and over to people cornering me and interrogating me. “Why don’t you draw real things?” “Why are your proportions all wrong?” High school was hell for me. I have nightmares worrying about how the people who treated me in such malicious ways may now be abusing their own children and spouses. If they treated classmates with such physical, psychological, emotional, and verbal abuse for the sole purpose of their own sick enjoyment, is that something they would grow out of?
In high school I stopped wanting to deal with bullies writing rude things in my sketchbooks when they were stolen and, with no one to stand up for me, I was convinced I deserved it. My family taught me that I was to “stand there and take it.” It turns out if your family doesn’t support you, you have no example to base standing up for yourself on. I grew up like that – it took me until age 29 to have any ability to stand up for myself. I still struggle with it.
Few of my pictures aren’t ruined by the markings of those that stole my sketchbooks to write their own commentary. I’ve included the non-ruined ones here.
I figured I would take pictures of these couple drawings before I throw them away as we declutter the house. At least that way I have them and don’t have to look at the horrible things others wrote to hurt me ever again.