This is a painting by Jean-Michel Basqiat. It's my Facebook cover photo and Twitter header.
Basquait was a street artist from Brooklyn who was at a point of his life where he felt there was no hope for him.
At the time, popular culture denied Basquiat’s work as art. It was considered graffiti and not worthy of being in the MoMa.
Basquiat decided that what he was doing was art, whether anyone ever chose to acknowledge it or not.
The painting is really gritty and messy. Basquiat starts by writing some of the terrible things people were saying about him and his work. Next he begins to write his personal insecurities and self-loathing thoughts.
He then starts scratching-out some of the things he’s just written, as a way of saying to himself that those thing aren’t true and that he doesn’t have to believe them. Finally, he finishes the painting by putting a crown over everything.
What the crown represents is freedom from those thoughts. He chooses to believe that he is the king, regardless of what his situation or everyone else is telling him.
For Basquiat, being the king was a way of thinking, not a position of power—It was about how you chose to perceive yourself.
You could be homeless, abandoned, and left for dead and still wear the crown.
Because it isn't about being perfect or being liked. It's about always picking yourself up and always trying to be and do better, not just for you but for the people around you.
It's knowing that you're going to fall. It’s knowing that it's ok to experience pain and self-doubt. It’s learning to find comfort within your own insecurities.
Knowing that it’s better to move forward and grow through that pain than to just sit there.
So it doesn't matter what anyone else is saying.
It doesn't matter if at times you feel terrible about yourself.
It doesn't matter if you're "messing up" to everyone else's standards.
As long as you are honest with yourself and you're trying your best to grow and move forward—you are the king.
You’re going to find yourself doing things that you never thought you would and in places you never thought you’d be. The trap is thinking "I guess I'm this kind of person now.”
The temptation is to just give up and indulge in the lie you start believing about yourself. After this repeats long enough, you find yourself thinking that you are a hopeless mess.
Don't fall for that trap. Always keep fighting.
Do your best.
Be the best.
Be the king.