I’ve always been one to dig deeper into a person’s words; dissect their intentions, and observe their motivations. Say something to me one day, and you should expect that I’m still thinking about it the next. It’s not the words that I find so interesting, but the way you choose to articulate yourself and why that thought in particular was one that made it out of your mind. How can some people manage to be quiet and mysterious, when I’m painfully struggling to keep myself from saying your face reminds me of a turtle, or I’m jealous of your eyelashes. Why is she so organized and habitual, when I’m so scattered and impulsive? I don’t ask these questions as a way to compare myself to others, but out of genuine fascination with people, the most dynamic source of inspiration I’ve yet to encounter. I hear someone speak after first meeting them, and my mind starts clicking away wondering if they’re always that happy? Are their parents still married? Did they plan what they’d wear or just throw it on at the last second? Would we have been friends in grade school? It’s weird, obsessive, and exhausting, but I physically cannot stop myself from wondering what embarrassing Myspace photos and tragic losses led up to who they are right in that moment.
As altruistic and existential as that makes me sound, I have to admit I do it just as much with people I like as people I don’t like. And if we’re being honest, that latter probably outweighs the former. A lot of people really annoy me. Like, get right under my skin, don’t breathe near me annoying. It’s gotten marginally better as I’ve matured and become happier with myself (major key), but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have many friends because I find so many people irritating and difficult to keep up with. But the people that piss me off the fastest fascinate me the most, because it probably tells me something new about myself, and I love learning about myself *hair flip*. Chances are they know they’re annoying/needy/offensive on some level, but countless experiences have made them that way, and try as they might to conceal these things, the underlying aura resurfaces eventually.
I used to have a boss that was the most condescending, abrasive, intimidating individual I’ve probably ever met- especially in a professional setting. She routinely talked down to me and questioned my intelligence, things I don’t take lightly or quietly. Twice I even said to her that I found her difficult to deal with and off-putting, especially for an individual in a leadership role. To really help you understand, my boyfriend offered to throw a stale bagel at her, which he only does for the worst kind of people. There was quite literally no encounter with her during which I felt I genuinely respected or enjoyed her. AND YET, as much as I could not stand this woman, I still found myself wondering what it would be like to be her daughter. What does she say to her husband before bed. What she would be like when interviewing for a job? Would she admit her bathroom stall has no toilet paper, or just act like she used the last of it? Simply, why the fuck is she the way she is?
Why are any of us the way we are? So much of personality has to be formed from external forces and influences, but it can’t all be based on whether or not you were told “no” enough as a child. There’s something about people as, both, individual entities and members of a family/group/tribe that I find compelling. We are each our own sentient being, but we subconsciously allow ourselves to be influenced by other people who have also been influenced by other people, because nobody is immune to it. Even socio/psychopaths find inspiration from somewhere. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about family, because it has always provided the greatest context for my personality when others are getting to know me, so it’s also a lens through which I try to form my understanding of others. I also think my family is the closest I’ll ever come to meeting myself. The more I observe of people, the more I understand of myself and the more self-aware I become. Which is how I’ve been able to realize people don’t like it when I say their face reminds me of a turtle.
My goal is not cracking some philosophical code, nor to launch a political debate about today’s societal influences. In fact some of the time I don’t even know how I feel about something, I just like to think about it. These thoughts aren’t groundbreaking, and I’m (probably) not the voice of my generation, but my hope is that by sharing some of my inspiration you will have a context in which to view my work. Maybe knowing that I wonder how often you trim your toenails turns you off of me entirely, or maybe you feel like we’re neurotic, kindred spirits. Either way, next time you look at something I’ve created, you’ll know that it’s based on countless observations of people I encounter and thoughts I’ve experienced thereafter.
I would love to hear your responses, and learn what inspires you most. Leave a comment, or drop me an email.