On Recognition and Why I am Bad at Receiving Compliments

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This past week, I made a video called “Draw My Life.” It’s a fairly popular Youtube tag. Basically, you take a time lapse of yourself drawing your life story, speed it up, and narrate over the video. It’s fun. It’s simple. I had created my video as a band-aid for my original video project that had gone horribly wrong. You can watch my Draw My Life here. I showed the video to my class, and it was well received. Better than I had initially anticipated. I decided to post it on my Facebook page because I thought folks might like it there as well. They didn’t like it.

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They loved it.

As of right now I have 145 “likes” and 25 comments on the post, which is much more than I ever (EVER) receive on Facebook. The comments are all positive. People are asking me if they can create music for this. There is an outpouring of love and support from people I haven’t spoken to in years, and frankly? It’s overwhelming. I don’t know how to react to all of this praise. A part of me feels like I don’t deserve this praise? Rather than respond to folks in a positive way and thanking them, I just gave a like and a kind of half assed “thanks” to everyone who commented.

I am an artist. And I am bad at accepting compliments.

It’s not an uncommon problem in the world of artists. We’re all simultaneously egomaniacs with horrible self esteem issues. You pour your heart and soul into creating something, and yet it’s so hard to accept that other people recognize that and vibe with it.

I am so lucky that I created something that resonated with people. I am so lucky that I can receive praise for making things. I don’t know how to tell people how unbelievably grateful I am for their support.

Because that’s what praise is: it is support. I am an artist, and I need validation. I need to know that the work I am putting out there is truly good work. And then I get comments from people giving me that validation. It motivates me, it stimulates my growth and change as an artist. It holds me up to a higher standard. I end up being better for it.

How do I find the words to tell someone that how they view me makes it easier and better for me to create? How do you thank someone for that?

I am bad at accepting compliments, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t genuinely love and appreciate the people who take the time to tell me they like my work. 

So thank you, those who encourage me to do better. Thank you so much.

One of my favorite childhood artists told me my work was “awesomeness in a box.” My life is pretty rad.

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