I watched the movie Big Eyes last night. You know, the one with Amy Adams where she portrays Margaret Keane, the artist? Even if you’ve never heard of Keane, I’m sure you will recognize her work.
Big eyes, sad children. Yes, I am partial to the one with the cat.
This movie was so hard for me to watch. I literally had to keep pausing it thoughtout the entire movie. I would pause it, come downstairs, have some water, and then go back upstairs and curl up in my bed to watch. A few times I even turned it off. Why? There was nothing vulgar or racey about the movie. It is the story of an artist that had a very distinct and special style. She married a man whose personality was greater than her own timid one. He overpowered her and eventually took credit for her work. For 10 years he said he painted these big eyed children and she agreed to the lie. Kill me!
She was so afraid and so vulnerable that she did herself the greatest disservice of her life.
These painting and those big eyes were her story to tell. Her release, her experience, her talent. As introverted women, getting our story out is like climbing a mountain with bare feet. It is hard. Very hard. So, when we find a way to do it, when we’ve cracked a code that will let us be brave and present in the world, it means everything.
What does it mean for you emotionally when you get support and credit for your work? To me, it means everything. It means my identity. It means recognition. It means you see me. I would venture to say that this feedback was possibly more important than her talent. She wanted and needed to be seen. We all do. How do we get people to see us? We can use our good grades, our jobs, our personality, our achievements and our talents. How about the person that is too timid to beg for our innate, need for acknowledgement? She become a creative person and express herself this way. It was part of Keane’s voice and it is part of my own and yours. Taking credit and feeling proud is not about ego. It is about the inner self. We all deserve to be seen.
Guess who sees her now? We all do!