Yesterday I read something on Facebook that was not about me. Shocker, I know. How could it be!? Seriously, though, it had NOTHING to do with me but still it found a fissure in some obscure strata of my heart and wormed its way in. It found a weak spot; an unexplored space and I felt suddenly bound to it; unable to disentangle myself.
I’m not sure I can adequately explain what caused it but I can explain how it made me feel. I felt like I was on the outside looking in through the glass at the cool kids. I felt uninteresting. Unpopular. UN. I felt un-. As a writer and by extension as a person.
I was sort of surprised by my feelings. I have insecurities like anybody else but mostly I think they’re in check. They bubble to the surface from time to time but I usually think of my emotional health and sense of “self-worth” as good to go. I’ve been through some arduous counseling and spent years working on being “ok being me.”
After wrestling with it for most of the day, I turned to poetry. Of course. Doesn’t everybody? I googled “poems about feeling lame” and other awesomely depressing search terms but didn’t find much so I tried writing my own.
perceived grandeur brought low
illusions of scarcity
After listening to that Seth Godin podcast and reading his book, Jason and I declared 2015 to be the year for risking failure. We both find ourselves at a crossroads professionally and we want to dare greatly, both personally and professionally. Doesn’t that sound grand? It’s all so inspiring and “chase your bliss” and whatever, right? It is until you actually fail. Which, as a writer, I’m discovering happens a LOT.
Anne Lamott says that,
.“…if something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act –truth is always subversive.”
This has been my mantra for more than a year now as a writer but, interestingly enough, it isn’t actually all that fun! It turns out being vulnerable and unliked aren’t at the top of my “favorite things” list. I’ve been trying to figure out if I need a thicker skin or if this feeling of discomfort just goes with the territory. Either way, I spent some time last night meditating on a word art meditation I made a couple months ago.
When threatened by the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch responds by saying, “You have no power here! Begone!” One of the speakers mentioned it at the Oprah event last Fall and I worked on a rendering of it afterwards.
Brené Brown carries a piece of paper in her wallet that has written on it the names of people whose opinions of her matter. I think I might make my own list tonight lest the feelings that surfaced yesterday start to fester; lest I start to mistake the projected opinions of people utterly unconnected to me for the ones that actually matter. And to scarcity, comparison and insignificance, I say with Glinda, you have no power here.