Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Please don't confuse honesty with malice

I have about 15-20 files open in Photoshop but I need to address this for my own sake.

Please don't confuse honesty with malice... you can just as easily convey what you want to say without hurting the person's feelings.

Especially when that person is

Which is to say I owe myself a big apology for being so goddamn harsh in my criticisms of myself over all these years. Years of beating myself under the pretense of

I thought I was warding off self-delusion. Instead I was just harboring self-loathing which has festered and grown into doubt, fear, greed, and a myriad of other demons.

And for years the people around me told me "Charles, you're too hard on yourself"

"Bullshit", I thought. "I'm not hard enough on myself, otherwise I wouldn't have failed at [fill in the blank]"

And like the coach who pushes his son harder than any of the other kids on the team, I figured I could take it. Because I had to hold myself to a higher standard. And that higher standard meant no bullshit and no excuses and no pulled punches and no sugar-coating the goddamn truth.

I'm the guy who thinks T-ball is the cause for the everyone-deserves-a-medal delusional mentality of our society. So I sure as hell wasn't about to go soft in my self-critism.

Hell, I believe no one deserves a medal and especially not myself.

And I did this in the name of self-defense of all delusional reasons! That if I beat myself up, that if I were my own biggest critic, I could protect myself from the pain that I would endure in the hands of others.

Boy was I wrong.

This self-inflicted mental torture makes waterboarding look like a bar mitzvah.

So stop.

And I'm talking to you too.

There's something about you guys out there that still somehow find your way onto this blog. You share in many of the same pains I've experienced. Sometimes greater. Perhaps you find solace in my stories because you've walked similar paths. And I believe that a good number of you feel the same way I do and can treat yourselves poorly.

So stop.

There's no reason we can't be gentle in the deliverance of the same message. You can be honest without being malicious.

That's all.


  1. We are always our own worst critics, it is part of the process I assume.

  2. I call into question if that is a necessary part of the process.

  3. Hello Charles,

    I honestly do not think that it's necessarily part of the process. Yes, there is a drive and an iron self-determination to succeed. Yes, this is the perennial bane of those artistically inclined. And Yes, it's about as common as grits and honey in a Waffle House. BUT it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, I think it's counterproductive most of the time.

    The energy and vehemence one expends during this self-criticism could have been re-directed toward more constructive avenues. For instance, instead of rapping your bleeding knuckles with a ruler for the up-teenths time, you can say, "Okay, I don't like this image. What do I want it to look like? How do I get there?"

    Ya see, no bloody messes. No shirt rending and howling wails in the moonlight. Furthermore, a person taking this constructive approach may be more open-minded and more willing to absorb the information he gathers in his researching of new processing techniques.

    What drives me is the desire to create a beautiful image, and as vanity would have it, I want to show it off to others :) But it's for the love of the craft that drives me (and, of course, the desire for more available disposable income :) ), NOT the self-loathing that such said self-criticisms engenders.