It’s easy to generalize most of the lies my parents told me, most of them are entrenched in sexism and patriarchy, most of them my friends lived with too.

But this? This is mine, this was targeted at me – in ways deeper and more specific than some of the others.

When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina and an artist.

My mom put me in ballet “because I was clumsy.” I took homeschool art classes for a brief period of time. I played piano for a year when I was 5 (then stopped because I was traumatized by one of the audience members freaking out at the same time I hit the wrong note. We were in a nursing home and I was not prepared, at 5 years old, to handle dying adults who maybe were not all there in the head and not take it personally when they decided that my piece was the best time to start screaming), I acted at church stuff, I wrote stories…

But whenever I showed these to my parents – especially as I aged and my younger siblings were expressing themselves via art, I was patronized – patted on the head and told I was cute < if they were being nice. Other times I was told flat out that my younger siblings were better at drawing (because one can copy my dad’s space-dog and I can’t copy), singing (because my other sister is actually quite the little singer person/drama queen in the best way), dancing (youngest brother actually has rhythm and I was told on multiple occasions that I had none – even as I was dancing), they chuckled at my stories and attempts at choreography.

Going through my list, I realized I actually did go through that list as a child, expressing myself in different ways in hopes of getting positive feedback on one of them, but it didn’t happen. Even speech and debate – they pulled me out because “I wasn’t going anywhere (in competition)”. If I wasn’t doing “good enough” then I obviously sucked at it, regardless of how much time I had put in or how new I was, or what my skill set actually is.

They spent so much of my childhood cutting my skills down to the point where it was easier for me to shut down my creative side entirely than try to still do stuff. I was convinced that I was bad at art, bad at everything – to this day when people say I’m good at drawing/painting or that they like my comics or whatever, I don’t – I can’t believe them, because I’m still getting over all of my formative years being told everything I made sucked, wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t good at it, or my younger siblings were far superior.

I feel like some of the crazy amount of verbal-cutting down of my skills was because they were backwards trying to praise my other siblings. My family has us sorted into boxes, see – I was the political one (it was the ONLY outlet of expression that I actually got positive feedback on, go figure), my brother was the technical one, closest in age sister is the artist, and second closest sister the singer, I’m not sure what the other ones are. >.<

It took me a long time to feel like by making art I wasn’t trampling on anyone’s turf or stealing their thunder.

Oh, and my internet powers are always conveniently ignored and projected onto the nearest male. >.<

“you’re puny, you’re silly, you’re not all that smart. You can’t use your wings and you’re no good at art!”

— A Snoodle’s Tale