The first week of spring semester is under my belt and as much as I love school, the first week I am always a bundle of anxiety. After the first assignment when I don’t go down in a fiery ball of fail, I relax. But until then, I assume I am the worst artist in every class and the prom scene from Carrie will be re-enacted when it’s my turn to share my work with the class. I don’t let a little thing like the fact that people are generally kind during critiques get in the way of my pity parties.
Eventually I realize I am being ridiculous and burst out of my funk. The thing that always wakes me up is realizing that the only person responsible for my feelings is me. We all need cheerleaders and people who believe in us, but did you ever notice how even after a great pep talk you still don’t feel that hot? It’s because even our greatest cheerleaders can’t read minds. They don’t know exactly what to say to pull us out of that self-pitying or negative mindset. You are the only one who knows exactly what words will work their magic to get you moving again.
If you use other people, your back account, your scale, your boy or girlfriend, or whatever as the barometer for your feelings (“My mom says I’m cool/I’ve got a gajillion in savings/I lost 6 pounds/He loves me today, etc.”) you will never be satisfied or happy. Those things only have meaning because we choose to give them meaning. You don’t get that giggly, butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings because the cute guy at Starbuck’s flirted with you. You get that giggly, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling because you assigned that feeling to that event. If he wasn’t cute you may be repulsed or embarrassed. My point is we can choose happiness or whatever feeling we want. Yes, crappy things happen, but we don’t have wallow there.
As Carol King sings, “You’re gonna find, yes you will/ That you’re beautiful as you feel.”
Now, someone please remind me of this post when I freak out again the first week next semester.
On New Year’s Eve I finally got out to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Dr. Seuss exhibit. I’m almost as big a Dr. Seuss fan as I am Muppets fan. My grandma gave me Hop On Pop around 4 or 5 years old and I was hooked. I would examine the illustrations in Go Dog! Go! for the tiniest little details. I wanted to know where these dogs were partying and why I couldn’t join them. I think I still have that book memorized.
Really all I knew about Dr. Seuss was that he was not a real doctor and he wrote children’s books. Turns out he was in advertising for 15 years with Standard Oil’s in-house ad department. From his bio:
Standard Oil recognized Ted’s talent—or at the very least, his obsession with Flit, the pesticide Standard was manufacturing at the time—and offered him a job in their advertising department. Flit’s competitor, Fly-Tox, offered Ted a similar contract and in true Ted Geisel form, he flipped a coin to make the decision. As a result, the phrase “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” was introduced into the American vernacular (Morgan, p. 65).
But the thing that really struck me was the final part of the exhibit called Dr. Seuss’s Secret Art. He had a whole host of creations that were not for public display and were in a secret room in his house. The one on the left is called, “Fooling Nobody” and was my favorite. My teachers are always telling us, “Let your work tell a story” and this so exemplifies that to me. You just look at it and get it. This isn’t the most colorful or complicated piece in the exhibit, but it was a piece that people really stopped to contemplate.
The exhibit closes on January 8, but if you get the chance I highly recommend checking it out. I did have one complaint and that was there were so many reproduction prints. I would have liked to have seen more original sketches and concept art. I love seeing pencil and eraser marks and seeing the beginning of the process. But it was still a really fun exhibit.
Oh and one last tip. When you’re standing in the main hall among all the gorgeous Christmas trees and it starts to “snow”, despite that joyous Christmas spirit that will come over you and the huge smile that will unconsciously start, close your mouth because that fake snow tastes terrible! Don’t ask me how I know this.