[Drawing of two stick-figure girls walking through a park. The one in front, looking very peppy, says, “Look on the bright side–it could always be worse!” The girl behind her mutters, “Yeah, and you could be even more stupid.”]
I’ve stopped telling myself, “It could be worse,” because I’ve learned that it A) Is a very poor attempt at consolation; B) Trivializes my struggles and suffering; and C) Makes me feel guilty for feeling bad in the first place. Could it be worse? Yeah. Does that make my situation any less awful? Nope. Don’t compare your struggles to somebody else’s–and, if you’ve got a chronically ill friend, please don’t say this to them.
Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927)
“La Toilette” (1898)
Oil on canvas
Currently in a private collection
Breslau would become the third woman artist, and the first foreign woman artist to be bestowed France’s Legion of Honor award. Breslau would go on to become a well-regarded colleague to some of the day’s most popular artists and writers including Edgar Degas and Anatole France. One person who was very special in Breslau’s life was Madeleine Zillhardt, with whom she spent over forty years. Zillhardt, a fellow student at the Académie Julian, became Breslau’s muse, model, confidant, and supporter.