When my daughter was in grade two she had a dance performance where the kids were told to dress like rag dolls.
Cee asked me to help her do the costuming. For her make-up I gave her big lashes in the forms of black painted lines of the top and bottom of her eyes. Her cheeks were cherry red circles that matched with her exaggerated fire engine red lips. To top it off we took black string and weaved it into her hair to create bangs and funky looking rag doll braids.
She looked amazing. She stood out. And as you can imagine, being in grade two, that's not always an easy thing. Her best friend Jessica was less than impressed and proceeded to laugh and make fun of Cee as sometimes kids do and encouraged the others to join in.
Cee came to me with eyes streaked with tears not understanding why everyone was laughing at her.
Here's what i told her:
To be a great artist means that people will either love you or they will hate you. But worse than that, the very worst worst thing for any artist is if people have no reaction at all and don't take any notice. You should be proud that you stand out and while it's not always easy, it means that you are an artist!
It's with that context that I read the Seth Godin Quote that Jted posted (by the by haven't had a chance to read Linchpin yet) below:
"I don’t think success is showing up, doing what you’re told and then going home and watching television… I think many people in [advertising] aren't artists, actually, but people working hard to do a job or please a client. Artists do more than that. They inflame critics and they make change and they do things that makes themselves and others uncomfortable."
It's funny because Jted said that it lit a fire to his soul, while our friend Dondy in the comments fell into the "we don't create art" camp. But I don't think we are talking about art here (in the Rembrant or Andy Warhol kinda way). I think it's about how you chose to live your life and make decisions every day.
And that's what i was trying to teach Cee. People sometimes forget to tell their kids how hard it is to be different. What struggles and stresses there can be when you chose to live your life thoughtfully (hopefully) challenging the status quo. But I don't think regardless of those challenges, that I could strive to live my life any other way.
By the way, in the end, I asked my daugther if she wanted me to take off her make up all together. In perfect and classic Cee style she looked at me with her beautiful blue rag doll eyes and said
"well not all of it, but maybe Mommy if you don't mind, maybe could we take off just the cheeks?"