I’m going to tell you a secret:
I think I’m actually a fucking AMAZING writer.
Did that make you feel uncomfortable? Did you just think, “wow, someone’s full of herself”? I wouldn’t blame you if you did. We’ve all been programmed to think that if a person is proud of their ability, then they don’t see where they have room to grow–they’re arrogant, pompous, prideful. I can tell you at least in my case, I don’t think that’s true. Most of the reason I want to work with traditional publishers is because I want the experience of working with professionals, so that I can improve my writing, learn more about the craft, and become a better storyteller. And I certainly do have my days where “OH GOD I’M THE WORST WRITER EVER,” but if I’m honest with myself on all the other days? I’m pretty pleased with my ability.
But it takes a lot to admit that I think I’m already pretty damn good. Society teaches us, especially girls/women, to be modest, self-deprecating even, when it comes to how we see ourselves. You’re not “supposed to” think you are attractive just as you are, or worthy of love just as you are, or successful enough where you are, or happy with exactly who you are. We live in a world that is constantly trying to sell us a better version of ourselves, and whether it means to or not, it makes us unhappy. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the rise in depression and anxiety in this country has more to do with the advertising industry than anything else.
Here’s another secret:
I got fired from my day job yesterday, and after a day of ups and downs, shame, fear, and sweet (sweet) relief, I realized that I was happy about it.
I had the hardest time allowing myself to happy, though, because this world would tell me I was irresponsible, that I need to be certain and secure before I can be happy, that I need to have a JOB and GET PAID, no matter what the cost.
No matter what the cost.
But I have paid a very, very high price for that life, my friends. In the past 3 years that I’ve been working a soulless office job that barely paid the bills and barely fell within the boundaries of ethical (in my opinion), I have developed severe depression and anxiety. I spent most of this past summer in a walking panic attack–derealization and depersonalization, if you want to get gritty and bring up bad memories. I spent every day of the week in a literal panic, pupils dilated, heart hammering, ears tight, as if they were clenching to keep the world closed out. My average blood pressure my whole life has been something like 90/60 (very low!) and the last physical I had put me at 130/115. And when I finally admitted to a therapist that “I guess I have anxiety,” I also realized the anxiety was covering for severe depression.
I paid for that job. My marriage paid. My writing paid, to the extent that I honestly gave it up for a while, thinking maybe some dreams are okay to let die. (Not the ones that make you horribly depressed to let die, though, jfyi)
So tell me, society: is having a steady job and income really my top priority? Because another few months of that might have landed me in the hospital, in more ways than one.
I am happy I lost my job, even if the reason I was fired was nonsense, and everything is unstable and unpredictable right now. I’m happy because I’m free. Maybe not in the way I would have liked to become free, but the Universe works in mysterious ways, and I’ve never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Right now, I’m in a place of so much potential. I will probably qualify for unemployment (which would net me about what I would have been making working part-time), but even if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I have the money I was going to use to supplement our income when I went part-time. I can and will get another job, even if I’m just working at a grocery store (our local grocery happens to have an excellent reputation as an employer). But I am never going to sell myself out as badly as I did for my last job. I’m being given a chance to be true to myself, and to uphold my values, for realsies.
This morning, I woke up smiling. I threw on my teal corduroys (fuck business casual) and a hair flower (don’t have to worry about a headset messing it up!) with my hair all huge and lion-fro from sleeping with damp hair (so unprofesh), and went to work–my real work: taking care of myself, and taking advantage of the opportunity I’ve been given. And that means writing.
Tell me: is there something about you that you secretly love? Don’t keep it a secret. Loving yourself for who and what you are is always right.
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