comparison stifles creativity

let me be the first to say: as a black woman who is currently cultivating my own signature aesthetic as a photographer, illustrator, full time artist + influencer, I am beyond honored that my work, specifically photography, has been compared to the likes of Asiyami Gold, Bee Walker and other phenomenal black women creatives that I love. 

these women are extraordinary visual storytellers + their work is so inspiring.

and although, it is nice to hear my name being mentioned in the same context as these dope black creative women, at the end of the day, it is still rooted in a comparison - which doesn't sit quite well with me. I say that because when I hear comments like: 

"oh you could be the next so and so!"  or "I picture you going the route of this person" 

I'm left feeling like I'm not there yet. and in my head, it's like "well, where is there?" is it that person's aesthetic, their following, their style. their level of success? I genuinely don't know but I am bothered by it. 

I invest so much of my time + energy into everything I produce because I believe wholeheartedly that my artistic perspective is invaluable - as should any artist. I believe in creating from an authentic place (lauren ash). and when I'm told that I could be the next so and so, which sounds harmless, it hampers the authenticity of my work because now I'm trying to live up to an expectation. now, I'm second guessing myself + I'm trying to play catch up not realizing that I'm in no competition with anyone but myself. 

my creativity wasn't birthed out of a desire to be the next so + so. following the path of another creative was not + is not my goal. my intention is to create. to inspire. to be myself in all ways, always - alex-elle. and to encourage other creatives to do the same.  

I understand that people aren't being malicious when comparisons are brought up in a conversation. I mean hey, it is deeply embedded in american culture (but truth be told, sometimes that's not a good thing) 

comparison is the enemy of authenticity because it robs you of your initial confidence as an artist. it stifles your creativity. you can't create freely when you're bound to the expectations of other people.  the beautiful thing about being a creative is that everyone goes into it with a different approach, a different goal + a different outcome. and no one way is right. so in other words: let me do MY thing.

food for thought: Solange wouldn't have impacted the world the way she has if she were trying to be the next Beyonce. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. drop a response below. let's chat :)