I've had quite a lot of "thoughts" on my mind of late but, for whatever odd reason, I don't use this blog to just spew whatever I think of all the time. (I have a terrible habit of...really thinking through stuff. I'm sure it bothers people too...oh, and it certainly connects with the topic for today's post, as well.)
There's a comic publisher called Image Comics that has been really doing some great series by creators of all types and championing the ideas of creator-owned rights by the writers and artists. (IN the laymens, if you work for say Marvel on its characters and you create a new one, the company keeps the rights, as per their latest contracts) Image has really been challenging all the major companies by basically publishing stuff that the creators do, which those same creators retain full ownership of their ideas and concepts. (I know this may sound like a "duh" situation but, in the comic industry, its been a hot button arguments of policies and intentions for various years now)
Anyways, I say all that to bring a crucial point to bear (and, sadly, it only slightly connects to the theme here): Image, is a BIG deal to all of us.
Yeah. To EVERYONE.
But I'm not saying something we don't all already know, right? Whether a family man, an athelete, a warehouse worker, mother, professional writer, etc, etc, etc...we are all often aware of our image (or what we believe our personality is perceived as by others.) That's a given.
What is an interesting idea, though, is that we all believe in the most pronounced aspects of ourselves being that which feeds into whatever the "image" is that we have. We wholeheartedly believe that if we're working many hours, people will see you as someone who works hard and long everyday. Or, if you're a published author and you're writing away, the "image" is that you must have SOME perceivable skill at words and story structure (even if rudimentary in the eyes of the more well versed in Literary works). People see a writer and KNOW he or she, IS a "writer." That's how it works. Our "image" is what is "perception."
Funny thing about that...that isn't how it always works out.
I discovered something about "who I am" to people recently, ideals of what I SEEM to be to some folk who "know" me. It wasn't anything along the lines of that which I've made pretty apparent in recent times...not to mention the last couple years of my life. Those who check out this blog know that I'm a "struggling artist" (a term I probably should do a phrase search on to see where it originated) and that I am a burgeoning music artist (of very small works, often taking years to complete.) So, you would surely guess that since I use both this and a few other sites to promote my work and talent that, for the most part, some would (at LEAST) mention those facts about me when it comes time for perceiving my "image."
So, imagine my shock when I was at a meeting with people who've known me for a few years, being surprised to find that I both do art/design and that I record and release music. It's not like I've been "quiet" about either of those things and, this particular group of people, have seen me prominantly display both talents over the time period they've known me.
What was the problem then? How could two of my most important expressions be so easily missed in lieu of other things?
The truth of it all is kind of simple. People perceive based out of what is important to them. It didn't matter that those things were important to me. These folks were looking at the "image" that is me, basing it on their own notions of what matters. I suppose that the work I've done the past few years doesn't matter because there are other elements they key in on. My hair, for instance. I can't imagine to tell you how many conversations my dreadlocks get. They even get commented on when they are in a hat and out of sight! Or my facial hair growth, or the fact that lately times have been a bit more strapped due to the economy effecting how much work comes my way. Shoot, I've even had several conversations where people were trying to convince me to sell everything I own and just fly to a random new city, on the basis of me possibly being able to start fresh with an entirely new career!
All of this has brought me to some interesting time thinking about perception and the deceptive nature that others, or even yourself, can place you. I'd love to be recognized for the work I do and the personality I have but that's MY interpretation of me. Other people look at things differently. They aren't just going to "snap-to-guide" of my ideal image of what makes me Conduct Lionhardt. And I would be a FOOL to really get offended by that. We are all trying to make our way through these paths that our lives take them. Narrow and difficult or broad and "easy," we are all just trying to work to goals and make a space in which we can be ourselves and, hopefully, effect more than just our own lives. It is a process, one with many turns and challenges. Even those closest to us (or whom we perceive as being close) can misread or even assume certain things about you, in turn missing the "image" we're putting out there.
It doesn't make them wrong or make YOU wrong. Sometimes its deceptive how perceptive we think we are and it takes being aware, to truly breakaway from what others tell you that you are...and even what YOU tell YOURSELF, that you are. None of us are perfect. All of us can be multi-faceted. But hopefully, whether we are wrong, they are wrong, or we are unaware of what we truly are, we don't give up. Do not fall into the trap of people pleasing. And do not every think that because some people define you a certain way that its who you actually are or ALL that you can be.
I'm still working out the kinks of being Conduct Lionhardt. It is a mission to be whom I want to be and certainly not what I am...yet. Hopefully, as I write, record, draw, and live life, I'll keep from having an "image" or other perceptions define that. I'm striving to be the best me that can be had. You should too.
(oh, and if you know someone connected to Image Comics, maybe you could drop them a line that says, "Great work, guys. I hope to join the movement sometimes soon.")
- Conduct Lionhardt