But when you birth children, you want at some point for others to find them as wonderful as you do. And you listen carefully to the judg(e)ments made over them.
And when they are not separate humans from yourself but things which live only in clay or on paper, you have the option to act on those judgments, or not. You have the opportunity which you don't with human children: you can adjust them, make them closer to perfect. It's tempting, and the struggle begins.
A-grades were always easy for me. I knew the correct answers: I gave truth and it met the parameters set forth by the instructors. I felt the envy of my peers, and for one split second it felt good before it turned ugly. A part of me wants to recapture that feeling and I start craving, manipulating, venturing to whore truth for accolades. Mind you, all this can happen in less than a second before homeostasis kicks in. Only the truth is real; the rest is presentation, which is where things get confusing.
You start to imagine that the truth could help people if only they were receptive - a noble endeavour. Present it in a receptive way and it isn't really whoring, right? You stand by your morals and get handed a trophy. What are they handing out trophies for these days, anyway? Even the publishers will tell you: "Read our publication and get a feel for what we like to publish." Do your research. Write like this and we'll like you, or at least you read us. And now we've arrived on the opposite side of the circle.
I read a poem which won a contest that mine didn't. I really love my child, no matter whether it came home with a trophy. But because I looked, I will now spend the next three days unraveling someone else's creation, measuring it against society (a further complication - vox populi or art society?) and I will end up in the same place I always do, which is fine except I am tired of this place.
I will be satisfied with nothing less than garnering acceptance for Something You Didn't Know You Were Gonna Like. I have to do what I do, and pass or fail. This is always the answer.