|Francis Bacon's Studio|
I will know I'm enlightened when one of them can offer me free fixing and I don't mind, not then, not later, not even when I'm in the grip of a depression. I used to have a "friend" who obviously believed my realism was pessimism, cynicism, and that she should and could fix me. She went so far as to urge me to subscribe to a nauseating positive good happiness news feed. What? I get my news from professional media, I'm not stupid. Finally, after many many insults of this kind, I blew up at her. Wish I'd done it years sooner. You have to blow up at some people to get them to let go of you, because they so enjoy feeling superior, even though they suspect maybe you've got something going here with your irresponsible creativity (unfinished projects!) and happiness and scepticism.
That's it - a jerk is someone who wants to think that everyone whose life is not as structured and conventional, predictable and dull, as theirs is inferior to them. And can't help but let you know. They may ask at Thanksgiving, "So have you sold any paintings lately?" and the whole table falls silent, leaning into it, enjoying the proof of your uselessness, your total lack of real success.
Should such a question come your way, I advise you tell them you have. But be too modest to go into it. Later you can let one nosy person know it sold for $82,000 but you were wrong to let it go for that. What was it about, they'll ask. An abstract, you say. That will stop them for a while. But be aware that they will go home and google you. And how lies demand more lies. No, don't say anything. Just shrug and look mysterious. Let me know how it goes.