I always figured that someone with a healthy life, a good set of friends, or a stable family wouldn’t be able to become an artist. My theory was based on Van Gough’s ear, Picasso’s blueness, and Frida Kahlo’s broken back. Health, family, AND friendships all had to be faltering in order for your artistry to materialize. It was clear to me that if I ever wanted to accomplish being an artist I had to destroy those 3 items of my life. So the problem is that when I came up with that theory I was 5 years old. When you’re 5 and you complain of bodily ills, a bad family, and avoid friends you are sent to a psychologist.
It never dawned on me exactly why but I knew that I should be offended when my kindergarten teacher suggested to my mother that I see a professional. Explaining my artist’s theory to the psychologist proved futile. Her bunny hand puppet instead wanted to talk how the theory made me feel and seemed preoccupied trying to find I had been “touched” by a stranger or not. Ever since then I’ve always felt bunnies were perverted, and refuse to pet one at an animal store.
My theory was put into practice when I attempted to damage myself by becoming blind. The plan was simple: if I read in dim lit places my mother would always yell at me exclaiming “you’ll hurt your eyesight!”, (as if the slap she placed behind my head wouldn’t do the same), so at age 8 I figured the best way to go completely blind was to read in the dark. Every night when everyone was asleep I’d press a book against my nose until blistering headaches centered on my forehead. I was never quite sure if the pain was from reading in darkness or if it came from trying to understand the words in my sister’s advanced chemistry book. In retrospect I really should have chosen a book I could actually read.
Blindness never did come to me, however it did make my vision bad enough for me to wear glasses in the 7th grade, so I counted that as a small success and moved to ruining my friendships. I began telling my friends that I had a strange disease which they could contract if they invited me to birthday parties. I ‘d brag that my family were royalty in Mexico and they should never look at me directly in the face. The lies worked their magic and soon enough I had absolutely no friends, although it never ceased to amaze me that none of them realized Mexico didn’t have a monarchy.
I figured the antics of my family were unto themselves unhealthy and hence I was on my way to becoming an artist. Months later, after lacking yet a masterpiece, I realized that my mother’s complains over my fast-food eating, my father constantly wanting know where I was, and my sibling’s incessant need to know how I was doing in school actually provided a good family home, as annoying as they may have been. Alas, my plan had failed, for I knew very well that I could not change my family. I had tried many times before but being the youngest in the family does not provide you with much leverage.
Now, here I sit, artless. During my final years of high school I hoped to be kidnapped by a wandering band of gypsies and forced to clean up after their goats. The goats, being the spiteful creatures they are, would take bites at me and make gleeful noises when they broke skin. After a month and a half of this ordeal I’d escape, return home, and churn out masterpieces equal to those of any tortured genius, not to mention my skin would have cleared up and muscles began to spur out of every major limb of my body. Oh well, maybe one day I shall be kidnapped, or adultnapped, and be forced to clean up after goats. One can dream.