How to be a bad guy

Disclaimer: This blog is specifically for people like me who are inherently nice, they need this the most.

Has anyone told you you’re a nice person? Do you care a little too much about everything? Do you put everyone else first but nobody puts you first? Do you apologize, a lot, even when its not your fault? Do you pretend to agree with everyone? Do you take extreme measures to avoid conflicts? Do you think you’re responsible for how people feel? Did you ever feel that if you were an asshole things would’ve been a lot easier for you? If you said yes multiple times then I have news for you (which I received recently ), you’re a chronic people-pleaser.

I was kind of shocked when I realized that now even being nice is a problem!? Well yeah, when you’re suffering from a painful migraine but you can’t tell your friend that you’d like to go home and take your medication rather than go to a restaurant, and force yourself to eat with the headache, when you tell your Uber driver to drop you few miles away from your home so that it won’t be inconvenient for him, but inconvenience for you is no big deal, when you’re suffering from food poisoning but you don’t say no to work from home, even though your teammates could do the same work, when someone lies to you and you just smile and change the topic because it would put that person in an awkward position, when you put on a little less makeup so that your female colleagues won’t feel they haven’t been putting in any effort, (okay I know your list may be different than me) but you know when you do such things just because you’re supposed to be nice, that’s a huge problem, not for others but for you.

I have done this all my life, I’d do these grand gestures for everyone, I’ll go out of my way for people I don’t even care that much and completely abandon my own physical/emotional/mental well being and when the time would come they’d usually put everything else before me. And I’d be devastated, I’d feel like a victim, because I was perfect, I’d been so nice, I’ve done everything by the book and yet I’ve been rejected. So like everyone else I’ll go to social media and post some emotional bullshit about how bad the world is for kind and nice people. I hope I’m not the only one here who has done this, that would be really awkward and embarrassing.

Also, I realized how many years I’ve wasted pleasing people, thinking about them, making them feel comfortable, walking on eggshells with their likes and dislikes, that I’ve completely lost my self in this process, seeking validation and approval from almost everyone to make myself feel good enough. I never once thought what if nobody cared about me what my life would like then? And it dawned on me does anyone really even care about me? I mean yes my family and handful of friends do, but they’d support me no matter what, others mostly won’t, they are too busy thinking and caring about their own selves. They might think about me for a second, make an opinion (which can be wrong) and then completely forget about me. And all I’m doing here is trying to make people think good about me for one second, trying to change one fragment of their thought? Is that even worth it, making sacrifices for no apparent reason, and innumerable times a day! And then one day you wake up and realize you’ve wasted your life away doing things you didn’t like, and now nobody really cares for all the things you’ve done for them because it was supposed to be your duty?! Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather care about myself more from now on than to wake up with a midlife crisis in few years and stuck in shitty situations.

Okay, if that wasn’t convincing enough, how about this- Have you once in your life seen a bad-ass personality on screen and wished it was you? I have, almost everyday! And it’s never with good guys. Well, we do love our heroes, on the other hand we love anti-heroes a little more. And I think you already know why, they don’t give a fuck what people think of them. They don’t do stuff because it will get them compliments in life, they do things because they want to, because they like it, and they’re really good at it. I’m not telling you turn into an anti-hero (which, by the way, would be so cool) but may be try this out- think of your alter ego, your ideal self, what he/she would do in a tricky situation? I’m most certain they will not care so much.

So next time try this- you’re at some bill counter and there’s a large queue behind you, take some more time than usual, do your thing, let people get pissed a little. I know, even thinking about this gives me crippling anxiety and that’s why it needs to be changed. The thing is as psychopaths need tiny bit of empathy to keep them grounded, we need a little apathy from people around us so we can depend on ourselves for the validation that we seek.

Why I almost gave up as an artist.

From my first memory as a child I remember drawing all the time, on paper, slate, walls, anywhere and everywhere. I was always scribbling something even if it was nonsense, and I loved it, but my parents loved it more. It kept me busy, distracted, and happy all the time. Painting has been in my family since few generations, my grandfather ran away from a large family business, and made a living from his drawing skills, and became a street painter. My father followed his legacy, but made very sure I take this skill as a hobby only and never pursue it as a profession. He taught me and my friends basic drawing stuff, and most of the times we would even help him paint banners and boards, it was a fun childhood. I was always-always creating something, and when things got bad around me I knew what to do. I survived so much throughout my childhood because I had a hobby.  It was my happy place, a getaway to my own world.

As my family moved from place to place, I met new people, made new friends. It always came as surprise to everyone as how I good was at drawing and they always ended up showering me with compliments. It made me feel good about myself. I had no idea that I am talented, I had a skill, that I am an artist, all this was news to me. You see, in my family drawing and crafting is such a subnormal thing that no one really cares even if you can draw a hyper-realistic portrait, so compliments, appreciation were literally non-existent, and I was okay with it until I knew better. Now that I knew how compliments made me feel(it was some kind of high), my whole purpose to draw and paint changed. I was continuously trying to impress people, chase that high, chase that validation, that I am something, I am good enough.

Then came out Facebook. Do I even need to tell you what happened next? Yeah you guessed it, all those likes, comments, sharing, from people I knew and people I don’t, brought a new high. It was like I was addicted. First time in my life I felt I mattered, people saw me differently as I am more, something more than just a shy weird girl who hardly speaks. I was famous, everyone wanted me to draw them all the time. And I did, I drew for so many people, even the ones I didn’t care about, just so I can prove to everyone and also to me that how good I am. I went a little further to impress boys with my skill, so they’ll go out with me. I know its so fucked up, but hey I was a lonely teenager and I did what I could to survive. I soon realized half of my so called friends didn’t really care about me at all, they only wanted a free painting. Many of my acquaintance were pissed when I begun to say no to their selfish offer, that was fun.

Social media brought something along more, it was the awareness, or self consciousness that I was not the only artist on the planet. There were millions of them, and so much better than me, I was nothing compared to them. My whole belief system as to how good I was shattered so easily. I was full of doubt, jealousy, and under so much pressure to be perfect, that I stopped drawing altogether for few years. I couldn’t do it anymore. And whenever I did people constantly told me how good I was, and how much money I could make out of it, if I started monetizing it, including my own father. Can you believe this betrayal! Because I could not. One guy I dated even went further to say to me, “Okay nice! Now what? You completed the painting, now whats the point? What’s the motivation ahead?” And I seriously had no idea. This one sentence triggered a massive crippling nihilistic-existential crisis in me. I mean he was right, what was the point of all this? Why am I even drawing if I cannot make money out of it? Anyway, I’ll be dead soon and I’ll be forgotten and this paintings will turn to dust, so why waste time?

This particular thought never left my mind. Until one day, my anxiety went through the roof, things got really dark around me and the only way out seemed like picking up a pen and paper. It didn’t matter what I was drawing, how perfect it was, I didn’t think even once how many likes it can get, if this painting is even worth any money, I didn’t think at all. I just painted for few hours, and somehow I painted all my anger, sadness and frustration on that paper. It made me feel relieved, brought a different sense of calm. And it occurred to me, that this is why I do it, I don’t do it for other people, I don’t do it to be famous, I definitely do not do it for money. This is for me and me completely, this is my coping mechanism, my self expression, these are my thoughts, my values. And that should be enough motivation. Since then I am also working on my belief system and making sure, that things like this wont affect my self-esteem, as this is a small part of me, and doesn’t define me completely.

So, this is why I wrote this blog post to remind myself, if I ever forget, as to why I paint, and also to let you all know that next time, do not come up to me and tell me how much money I can make from my paintings unless you’re going to buy them.

Have a good time quarantining!