Halloween 2015 will be a night I will never forget for many reasons. It’s the night I met Tavi Gevinson, many of my friends, and Amandla Stenberg. That night, someone also shared one of their favorite quotes: “There are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.”
I sat there next to my grandma, amongst the Rookie readers there that night, and had a conversation with myself in my head. I’d never thought about the way you start perceiving people once you start to admire or hate them. Until then, I hadn’t stopped to consider that I view celebrities as something other than human-like-me.
Before I got into going to concerts and taking time to learn more about the creators I enjoyed, I couldn’t understand why people would pay ample amounts of money just to see someone who is just another human being. I would go so far as shading people who did so, because I couldn’t comprehend their actions. Now, I know that I want to meet my favorite creators, because making sure that there is a living, breathing person behind the work I love is important to me, even if I don’t yet fully understand why.
Seeing celebrities as more than human makes it easy to judge people who are in the spotlight. It’s easier to have a not-so-nice opinion about someone who we’ve never met. It’s probably not hard to get online and say mean things about people you think will never respond—or even see it.
I’m starting to think about the people I admire now. There’s a handful of people I really look up to and, of course, follow online. I don’t think admiring them is a bad thing. You need people to look at and think, Well, they made it so there’s hope for me.” What does become a problem is when I start thinking, Oh, so-and-so would never like this! when it comes to my work. I start to focus on being accepted and liked by those I admire, instead of creating what I enjoy.
Recently, I found it extremely hard when a person I admire was not particularly fond of one of my ideas. It’s easy for me to lose motivation when I receive negative responses to my work, but this made me want to burn every sketchbook I’ve ever had. It really took a toll on me and I never want that to be the case. Instead, I’m going to start attempting to view EVERYONE in my life on the same level—especially when it comes to their opinions of my work. I think I’ll be happier this way. ♦