merissanathangerson

The Perils of Genius

In Career on August 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, when I'm famous will I have it all?" Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I am 27 years old and am famous. My art is hugely successful and I am slowly feeling miserable despite. I feel enormous pressure to create more art of the same caliber and am terrified that people will know me as an artist with a sick case of beginner’s luck. I find it hard to be polite or kind and am generally frustrated with this trapped feeling.

-Stuck On Top

Dear Stuck On Top,

Oye. This is the dilemma that no one warns you about, the pain of success. There is a saying that goes, “If people are jealous of you, then you are doing something right.” I am guessing that people are not easy to navigate when you already sparkle so brightly.

A few questions come to mind. Do you love your artistic craft? Does it fuel your day, inspire you, make you feel more beautiful? While many of your friends are probably choosing husbands, you are going to have to get busy marrying your work. This means being sure you want to keep going, that you chose this field rather than it choosing you. There is no rule that one must commit to their genius.

On the other hand, though, that commitment part is the most fantastic and arduous element of your bright gift. It is as if you just passed through the honeymoon period and are now committed to this thing you are unsure you want to wed. Forget what everyone is saying about you. Shut down the tabloids. If you love making art, then get busy loving it. Your art will evolve, with highs and lows, and even if the public can’t be patient, you need to try.

If you love what you do, chances are with time it will again reveal beautiful results. Be diligent, perseverant, and learn to engage even when there is no return. Try not to get attached to the spotlight, to the glory of it all, and link in instead to the basic animalistic fever of artistic dedication. Also, remember that you and your art are separate, and nurturing yourself and learning to love yourself even when the world thinks you are failing will eventually provide a stronger base to your projects.

Ask Yenta Anything!

E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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