Society does not support its artists. This leads many to stress, poverty, and the outskirts of society, which then seems to have created the myth that genius comes with madness, excess, and oddity. This myth is perpetuated by popular culture and the art world. And artists that challenge this myth are few and far between. Too many happily accept that to be a genius they must remove themselves from others, make themselves different, special somehow. Instead of nurturing their ties with the world outside of their creative pursuits, they sever them. They lock themselves in their studios inhaling paint fumes, drink in excess, experiment with sex and drugs, dress to mark themselves "artists", act withdrawn and affected, which alienates others, all the while feeling alienated themselves. Some do find success from this process, recording their loneliness, anger, and exploits in their canvas or with the written word. This part of their humanity people connect with and if their stories are fascinating enough, ostentatious enough, marketable, and support the myth that to be genius one must be tortured, they will receive a certain amount of monetary success. But what is the result of this success? Young artists that wish to follow in their footsteps begin the process of alienation sooner, commit themselves to the life, rather than to creativity. They place social deviants on pedestals as heroes, but only those that are shiny enough to make it in the spotlight. Now I think that social deviants are not bad people to hold in reverence, but it is important to remember why they are there. What search for freedom has led them to cast off the shackles of society? What attempt at deeper human connections has forced them to act outside of social norms? Has the life they chosen gotten them any closer to freedom and connection or are they now tied down by different chains, those of addiction, pain, and fear? The stories of those excessive creative types only reveal a portion of their humanity. The rest is left out, a blank volume in a body of work that remains incomplete. Those that try to fill in these pages are no longer marketable, they challenge the privilege they had to choose a different life and this challenging forces them to remain on the outskirts. If they do not challenge these roles, they can maintain their success in the market. I don't know that this success is all that meaningful though. What if instead they challenged the assumption that they must be mad to be a genius? What if they acknowledged all people's genius? Imagine, if artists didn't separate themselves, but led the revolution in celebrating the potential of all. What if they respected social deviants for their attempt at freedom and connection, but challenged them to do so without falling victim to their own weaknesses? What if we all did?