I've been thinking about how people perceive professionalism.
Recently, I've been having a bit of a tough time with feelings of isolation. This is not uncommon when doing a PhD, and is something I am attempting to combat by working more within the university environment, and taking on a small part time job.
I posted on Facebook about my feelings of loneliness, and my friends and family were hugely supportive and offered words of comfort.
I also wondered what people might have thought about my public acknowledgement of finding things a little difficult at the moment.
I wondered if people perceived that type of admission as somewhat unprofessional.
Is being professional, maintaining a cool air of indifference?
Is being professional, pretending that everything is okay, at least in a public forum such as Facebook?
Are you only allowed to be emotional in private?
I think maybe it's a cultural thing.
I have heard many times on my travels from US and Australian friends, that myself and other English travellers come across as 'reserved'. I'm sure this is a generalisation and a stereotype, but maybe there is something in it.
As an artist, there tends to be a lot of bitching and back stabbing that comes with the territory. For me, it's become an unbearable feature of the profession. I really felt the need to express a few thoughts. The following is a colloquial stream-of-consciousness, written on a Sunday evening in February, 2015.
How many times have you heard
Soandso said this...
Soandso did that...
Shit work. Bad practice. Drama queen. Unprofessional. God complex. Clique. Arse Licker. Nepotism.
They don't deserve it.
How did they get that?
Hold on a minute...
These people are artists, just like you.
These people are trying to change the world, just like you.
The reality is, it's a bloody tough world out there, and we don't need to add any more insults to injury.
They're in the same situation as you. Fighting the same battles as you with censorship, funding and social conservatism.
A little less bitterness at the development and success of others, and a little more love and support for those who are trying to move forward with their life and trying to make a difference in this world, would go a hell of a long way.
How nice would it be, if you felt genuinely lifted and supported by all of those around you?
How nice would it be, not to feel in competition, but alongside each other, picking each other up when you fall?
Comparing our lives to the others around us isn't healthy or useful for anyone. It breeds resentment and negative feeling.
Spite can be manifest in subtle ways.
A casual put down.
A sarcastic remark.
A rolling of the eyes.
A purposeful act of ignorance.
A wry smile between friends, at the exclusion of the 'other'.
We are all 'others'.
We all exist at the margins.
Let's not exclude.
How horrible does it feel, when the realisation hits that someone is being purposefully cruel? Why are they treating us like this?
How about we embrace people who are using their time and creative energy to make art, because they feel compelled to change the world for the better.
For the greater good of all of us...
Yes, I want Utopia. It's what I'm pushing forward for.
How about we don't gossip about people in a negative way.
If people are merrily gossiping about others, what might they be saying about us, behind our backs?
How about we take people as they come, and don't listen to other people's rumours or projections.
How about we all have the courage of our own convictions, and not be afraid to take a stand when someone is being unkind.
I promise to try and never be complicit in an act which perpetuates negativity toward others again.