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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Carlos

Who Are You?

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Are you on a quest to dig deeper into your personality? As normal human beings with minds and hearts of our own we tend to overthink and over feel matters. And if you are an artist, you probably tend to go to extremes in exploring the depths of your soul and other people's in the hopes of getting inspired or finding your own style—your brand.

A woman with flowers on her head
"Flower Head" | Watercolor and Gouache | 2019

Dig Deeper

Have you ever answered those BuzzFeed personality quizzes or any Internet pop quiz just to get to know yourself? It’s an escape—a bait. Call it whatever, but those online quizzes or horoscope readings are not free psychotherapy sessions. The results, which are far from scientific, are in fact designed to fit almost all personality types. Basically they tell you what you want to hear. As social beings, we also have the need to belong to a tribe. Although I am consistently a Gryffindor, definitely a Scorpio, Elizabeth Bennet, an INTP, and a perfect match for both Prince Charming and Keira Knightley, who was also Liz Bennet, I often doubted my own identity until I grew up and experienced life out there with other people.

Why do you think I am weird?

This was a question I posted on my personal Facebook account for friends to answer. I’ve been told I am strange many times since I was in kindergarten. It was puzzling for everything I do was normal and yet to some people regardless of how well they know me, I am weird.

The question was not an ego-boosting exercise but more like an attempt to understand my uniqueness as a creative. What makes me different?

Everything they said was valid because that was their experience with me and somehow it made an impression on my character.

“You sing out loud. Suddenly. Out of the blue. In front of a crowd. Strangers even. Or plants. Or animals.” - Gale, my best friend and partner in crime since high school

That reminds me of the song my husband lovingly dedicated to me, “She Talks to Rainbows” by the Ramones. I love it.

"Unique" | Gouache | 2019

Anyway, here's why I think I am different (from the rest of my social circle):

On the surface, I am calm, quiet, contemplative and maybe at times mistaken for being aloof, arrogant or absent, but on the inside I am raging with repressed emotions or creative ideas, hence the sudden burst of singing or unpredictable quirkiness. A Tickle quiz pointed out that I fall into an extravert medium bordering introversion personality type. Hmmm...

The truth is, I am merely silently observing the world around me: from the tiniest matter seen with the naked eye to the great cosmos and likewise the intangible concepts no one possibly ever bothers to ponder because life is happening. And yet you only see me sitting in a corner. From my investigation, I create a world in my head, which I then translate through words or visuals unapologetically—"hashtag nofilter” as Gale again pointed out. In return, I let you see that world by drawing extracts from my vivid thoughts and lucid dreams.

What makes you you?

“Enough about me, let’s talk about you for a minute. Enough about you, let’s talk about life for a while,” quips Alanis Morisette, also a guru of life well-observed through music and mumbling lyrics.

You probably have at one point in your life that dreadful existential crisis. Where do you look for answers? Online quizzes, books, movies, celebrity news, or other people’s lives filtered through social media feeds?

So many artists out there struggle with confidence and fear. They, myself included, often wonder if our work is good enough. How come this or that artist is so popular? How much time is spent worrying compared to actually doing something about this insecurity?

Remember that we are all in our own space and timeline. A tiny yet significant dot in a long streamed line in this universe. Of course, it is completely alright to look up to other people for inspiration. We all need heroes and heroines but you cannot make them into a 1:1 model for your ideal life, career or personality. They have they fair share of struggles and insecurities, too, and now they are reaping the rewards from overcoming them. Admire them, like them, commend them but more importantly, be happy for them because they are doing their part to make their lives better. If they are creative people, be glad that they are doing good to the human race.

The mindfulness philosophy tells us to look into ourselves. If you draw a circle around you, make it even smaller until you can only trace your footprints. As you look down, you probably will soon realize that it’s now time for a pedicure. Perhaps that is only what you are supposed to do: self-improvement in any way possible.

Liz Gilbert in her Big Magic book recommends getting up in the morning, getting beautifully dressed, even putting on make-up and once you finally feel good about yourself start creating something. Isn’t that what you already do before rushing to work on a daily basis? Start the change that will make others follow your fabulous footprints.

Woman in yoga pose
"The Fire within Is the Light We Shine to the World" | Watercolor | 2019

Je ne sais quoi

My Hogwarts house badge (purchased at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions in Orlando) did not point me to any direction—we have the Marauder’s Map for that. Seriously, my real compass were the lessons I learned in life, the people I met and the overall experiences that made me accept who I am with courage, which allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do with confidence albeit the delay. My family and friends probably already knew before I did that I am truly an artist. The challenge now is consistency.

I don’t have a distinctive style yet. That is not the definitive artistic goal for now. Though the quick Q&A on my Facebook gave me insights about myself as a creative person, the constant practice in making art and my Pinterest boards revealed my inclinations, my favorite medium, colors and design elements that you will often see in my art works. I don't know yet if this will make me, as an artist, stand out or even sell. It’s a continuous process.

However, there is joy in knowing that somewhere somehow someone found a connection to me through my art and if I can encourage them to create, all the better.

Swirly and ornamental handwriting of Michelle Carlos
Possibly my new logo | Watercolor | 2019


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