~Not suitable for parents~
Last week when I arrived at my booty workout class, everyone was staring at me. At first I thought to myself “Wow, do I look so sculptural in my leggings that people can't take their eyes off my ass?" But when I turned to the mirror I saw the tags sticking out and realised my pants were inside out. The truth is I had woken up 15 minutes before class. But let's focus on what really matters: I AM ACTUALLY FULL ON WORKING OUT ON A REGULAR BASIS. Yay for me.
A few weeks ago I asked my friends on Instagram if they they don't post certain pictures on their social media because they know their parents will see it and it's too awkward to bear. Not surprisingly, a lot of the yes answers were related to stuff like smoking and drinking.
The reason why I bring this up is that I realised I've been stopping myself from writing about certain things because of what my parents might think. I know they read my newsletters religiously — my dad is the first one to email me back when I send one out (hi dad 👋🏼).
The thing is, what if I wanted to write, let's say, a review on vibrators? Or discuss the fact that anti-depressants can affect your sex drive? Or talk about all the drugs I took the other night (lol i'm joking mum and dad! Really, I'm in bed by 10 every night). But the point is — what if I had something that I know would shock my parents or make them feel uncomfortable, but was actually a really interesting and relevant topic that I know a lot of people will relate to? Should this awkwardness stop me from writing meaningful stuff? Obviously not, but I just don't think I'm there yet.
Upon further reflection, I wondered: am I the only person who's had these thoughts? What about actual, respectable writers, artists, creatives of any kind — did any of them at any point not truly express themselves fully because they were worried about what their parents might think? Or even: has anyone not created a masterpiece because it would just make their parents too uncomfortable?
I know this sounds silly. The point of art most of the time is to provoke and cause discomfort. But I just found it funny to ponder that maybe, even the greatest of artists, have asked themselves "what will my parents think?".
I then started thinking about artists and their parents. Do most artists rebel against their parents? How do parents feel about their child expressing themselves so vulnerably? How was creativity nurtured whilst growing up?
I found a short video created by my favourite modern art museum, Louisiana, in which artists talk about their relationship with their parents. It features big names like David Shrigley, whose parents couldn't understand why people would pay money for his art, Yayoi Kusmama, who ran away from home because her parents refused to let her be an artist, and then there's Jonathan Meese, who's mother is sitting next to him, surrounded by blood-covered mannequins with bright pink testicles.
"Art is a family business. It has to be like that. A friendship and family business. Otherwise it doesn't work", says Meese in the video.
I find it really special when a family fully supports and nurtures a child's talent, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them feel.
Take Billie Eilish, for example (she's my newest obsession by the way). When I watched her documentary, The World's a little Blurry, I was really moved by how her parents nourish her talent and fully accept her as an artist. And some of her music is really vulnerable and dark - she wrote a song about suicide when she was like what, 19? I just think it's really lovely how both her parents give her so much love and encouragement, and perhaps most importantly, stability. I imagine this support system to be crucial when you're so young and so famous. How many geniuses have been led astray because they didn't receive this amount of security?
Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yes, feeling parental awkwardness. You know how there's content that comes with parental advisory because it's not suitable for children? There should be a warning label for content that's not suitable for parents. Don't you think?
I guess at some point I'll just have to get over it and write about whatever I want.