I have always compared myself to other people. It is a bad quality of mine and I almost had made a habit of it. When I saw the world around me I felt inferior. There was someone smarter, or better out there. I felt that I could never really live up to my potential and that I would never get a pat on the back for what I did. I finally realized one day while I was standing in the backyard of my stepsisters’ house in West Virginia. They had just revealed the surprise party for my step father. I watched him nervously as he opened up the gifts from my other stepsisters, then it came to Vanessa. Vanessa was an amazing artist who could paint or draw anything if you gave it to her on a piece of paper. Her artwork decorated my house and she was about to get another peg on the wall. I saw the tears come to his eyes as he ripped the colorful wrapping paper. It was a framed picture of him and Vanessa. I wanted to cry to because I never had such a touching moment with him that was portrayed in the picture. It was him dressed up in his army uniform leaning over and kissing Vanessa, who was in her cute bunny pajamas when she was young.
Great, my gift is going to look like a toddler’s drawing, I thought. I felt so embarrassed as I handed him the gift. It wasn’t even wrapped up! He looked at it and gave me this heartfelt look as he hugged me. It wasn’t as deep as Vanessa’s moment of glory but it was sweet. I sighed as I walked away pacing back and forth aimlessly. I tried not to cry as he put my gift down and started prancing through the yard showing of his daughter’s latest creation. Thoughts clashed in my head as I thought I would never be good enough to get my picture hung on the wall. Oh, her work is flawless. I can never be anything compared to her. Why do I do art? There are so many better artists out there than me.
I thought about the saying “Don’t compare yourself to others.” I got so caught up in comparing myself to Vanessa for so many years that I had lost passion in my art. When I painted or drew I felt as if it was a strenuous activity I was obliged to do. I took it deeper though, I kept thinking about comparing because you have to compare yourself to someone or else you won’t get better at what you do. I arrived at the answer moments later. “Don’t compare yourself to others because sometimes you won’t overcome them. Compare yourself to what you were to what you have become.” I wasn’t going to let my comparing habit get in the way of my passion for art any longer.