The Muse's Woes | Teen Ink

The Muse's Woes

June 13, 2014
By Red546 GOLD, Warrenton, Georgia
Red546 GOLD, Warrenton, Georgia
13 articles 0 photos 32 comments

You’ve never heard of me, but I know you’ve heard of my dear friend, Carlos Juarez. You know, the artist? The young genius who was hired to turn the White House into a giant, single patriotic mural? The kid who was hailed as better than Van Gogh at the age of eleven? The teenager who carved a new vision of Lady Liberty, more beautiful and insightful than the last? Yeah, that kid.

Carlos and I grew up together, next door neighbors, but practically siblings. He was always a dreamer, only half living in the real world. I guess that was why we fit together, because I’m the same way. Only, while I dreamed up fantastical plot lines, Carlos dreamed of paintings and statues. For our science project when we were ten, he made a scale model of Pompeii before the disaster at the bottom of our papier mache volcano, then refused to make the volcano erupt. And our teachers gave us an A+. The most interesting thing? Just before he proposed the idea of putting that model on our volcano, I had written a short story about a survivor of that very disaster.

As we got older, I began to notice a pattern of this. I would write a story, and he would construe it into a piece of art, never bothering to ask me first, or even think about asking me. He got all the recognition without even trying, and while I fought to get published. Today, Carlos and I are twenty-two, and rooming together in a penthouse apartment in New York. We both received full scholarships, me under an academic scholarship and he for his art, so we have the money to spare for the lavish living space. Or should I say he does. His idea of a “deal” is that I cook and do laundry and such, and he pays rent and bills, as well as paying for groceries.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love him dearly, but I do get tired of never being looked at twice. Once, we went to a party thrown for him after he got several pieces of his art put in a gallery. He walked in with me on his arm, yet not a single person asked my name, or even our relationship. I don’t think people are intentionally being cruel, but it still hurts.

Is envy a sin? I think it is, one of the seven deadly ones in fact. In which case, I’m likely going to end up in hell. Carlos is recognized constantly by fans of his art, his pieces are in museums all over the world, and he’s won countless prizes. All I ever wanted was to be a writer. Not even a rich one. I just wanted to be published, to be remembered by fans, maybe win a prize or two. Tell me, am I wrong to be jealous, even a little?

Everything has always come easy to Carlos; school, art, friends. I’m that socially awkward girl; that girl who has to fight for her grades and spends so much time studying that she barely remembers her own name, much less the latest fashion trends; the girl that despite being fairly pretty, no one would want to be seen with her because she’s so unpopular. My only friend throughout high school and middle school, and actually elementary school, that wasn’t related to me, was Carlos.

I know what you are all thinking. “Why doesn’t she move out? Why doesn’t she get away from Carlos, out from under his shadow? Why doesn’t she tell him to stop construing every single thing she writes into art, or even just ask for him to list her as a collaborator?” All questions I have asked myself, things I have almost done. I don’t know how many times since Carlos and I moved in together that I have been sitting at the dinner table with him and almost told him I’m moving out, that I can’t take it anymore, almost told him that passing other people’s work off as your own is illegal.

I don’t know why I can’t. I think it has a something to do with fear. I’m terrified of what life completely alone would be like. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to support myself. I’m afraid that I won’t get to write as often as I can now, and will never get published. I’m afraid of the hurt on Carlos’s face when I tell him that I want to move out, because he truly does love me, and would never hurt me intentionally. I don’t even think he’s turning my stories into art intentionally. The idea just sticks in his head and morphs.

Hm. I know what this must sound like, simply a long list of grievances, a whiny brat who can’t do a thing for herself. And I’m perfectly okay with sounding like that. In truth, I’m writing this because I’m tired of the feelings I have, these weaknesses. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t want to be envious. I guess I hope that by writing all of this down, putting it in cold hard words, I can shock myself into changing. Into becoming a better person.

Or maybe I’m just doing this to give myself the courage to move out, regardless of how much it hurts Carlos. So that I can step into the unknown and terrifying world, without guarantees or promises, with hardly anything but the clothes on my back. I want to be able to present myself to the world, and shout, “Here I am! Take me or leave me!” I want to grow up, become my own person, separate from the protected sphere I currently live in.
Only, I’m not brave enough, not yet. I’m not brave enough to face the world without the guarantee that anyone will love me. I’m just not. I wish with all my heart that writing this down will save me, will give me the courage I so desperately need to break out, and become a woman, not a little scared girl and escape the shadow over me. I don’t even need to be published, I just need to be free. Free to feel, and shout, and dance, and love with all I have, but that takes courage. Courage I know I’ll have, in the very near future. Yes, the very near future. I feel it, deep down. Heck, I may even have tonight when Carlos gets home.

To all of you reading this, I hope that you can take courage from my fears and know that you’re not alone in these feelings, and that one day, one day, you will break out. You will be free to laugh and shout and dance and love. It can end, those dark feelings. Yes, the world is scary, but it’s beautiful too! We need to go out, all of us, and see it, and overcome our fear. Fear holds us down when we want, need to fly. All we need to fly, is a little courage, and a little heart.

The author's comments:
This was actually the product of a writing prompt mom gave me to write from the perspective of "the muse of a brilliant painter." As you can see... I went nuts. Hope you like my insanity!

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