The logical ending for that phrase is … until it’s gone. But that’s not what I’m on about. I was reading a blog post earlier by a guy I know from Twitter. I haven’t met him offline – lately I’m wary about doing that. But he seems nice, he has a gorgeous smile, and he writes really well. The funny thing is … he doesn’t seem to know it. He started blogging quite recently, and when I read his work, I was surprised. I had no idea he wrote so well, and I wondered why he hadn’t started earlier.
Everyone and his little sister has a blog, but I’m a fussy reader, and I really think some blogs should be taken down by force. So when I find a blog I like, I read, I comment, and I hope the writer realizes how good they are. It surprises me that so many of them don’t.
I understand some of his reasons for not writing more. They’re totally valid. It’s hard to be honest when you know the people that are reading. It’s a huge two-sided panga. You want more people to read, but the bigger the crowd gets, the more you can’t say. Every once in a while, my little brother leaves a comment here and I shudder a little, because I’m nervous about the posts he might have read. I made one of my [many] blogs private after my mum left such a strong comment that I deleted a post. Mind you, the comment was anonymous, and I didn’t know it was her until after deletion. Strength of a mother!
But I suppose my strength is also my weakness – I can’t help TMI. It’s easy to talk about myself because it’s a form of therapy, and sometimes I feel like I have to say stuff, even when I know it’s bad idea to say it.
On one of my earlier blogs, I used to write a lot about my little girl. But one day, she read a post and said, ‘Mummy, I don’t like it when you tell your friends about me.’ So I stopped, and I deleted all those posts, even though they were some of my best work. She’s an awesome inspiration. Lately, I write a bit about her, but I always do it with her permission.
Still, it’s a blessing to have the temperament that lets me show off all my warts. I’m realizing that not a lot of people have that. It comes with chains, and it exposes me to hurt and criticism, but it’s still awesome to be able to express myself like I do.
Everyone has that one thing in their life that they’re sure of, the one thing that they know they do well. For some it’s sports or a career or horizontal acumen. Usually, when people praise that skill, it sounds like bragging, so most people don’t. But we all have that one thing that nobody can make us doubt.
For me, it used to be intellect. I thought I was really smart until I went to PB and found 360 girls who all thought they were genii[?]. Some classmates worked harder to outshine the crowd, and it got really competitive. Me, I slowed down on academics and turned to writing. I did a lot of poetry and became a sort of Poet Laureate after winning some school Val’s competition. I started a novel after a fellow Ruwe [God bless you Norah, wherever you are] said I ‘look like writing a novel’. Ten years later, I got it published, and it feels really good to see By Crystal Ading’ on a paperback cover, even though it’s sold about 30 copies since 2008.
Point is, the thing I’m most sure of is that I write, and I do it well. I don’t get as many hits or comments as some sites, and I’ll admit that bugs me … a lot. But I am never in doubt of my skill.
I realize that’s a blessing, because so many bloggers constantly worry if people are reading. Even people with books out and newspaper columns and blog awards still wonder if they’re really any good. It surprises me when they do that.
When someone compliments my work, I smile and say thank you, and they feel belittled. They feel like I’m dismissing them, or that I disregard their opinion. An acquaintance once got excited about me being in the paper. I replied, ‘It’s not hard. You just have to die to be in the paper.’
I didn’t mean to be rude. I just honestly didn’t think being a writer was a big deal. It’s not something I struggle with. It’s something as natural to me as breathing. Half the time I write, it’s not even conscious. It just comes. [Except of course when a client is paying and there’s a deadline. That can get a touch tricky]. So for me, saying I’m a good writer isn’t a thing. I get far more excited when someone says I’m a good mother, or a good driver, or even a good cook – things that most people take for granted.
For the record, the acquaintance decided I was arrogant and conceited, and never spoke to me again.
I look at people and I wonder about them. There are things in my life I’m insecure about, and these are things everyone seems so good at. I no longer meet tweeters and bloggers offline, yet others attend tweet-ups without a second thought. I wonder about raising my daughter yet some mums make it look like the easiest thing in the world. I wonder if I’m actually a woman yet some females are just effortlessly glamorous. I keep to myself and I’m happy that way, yet I constantly wonder if the people in my life really like me.
People say I’m popular, but I only have a handful that I consider friends, and they have the frustrating task of constantly saying that they love me, because I’m always afraid that they’ll run away. And the sad thing is if they have to reassure me for long enough, they get fed up and they do run away.
I’m happy and content being single, but it’s largely a defense mechanism, because a big part of me knows I’m not female enough to find and keep a good man. And the men that do want me only want me as a mistress or a second wife.
Well that’s not entirely true. I have one ex that seems to want me back, but really, that was a bad idea from the start, and I wish he’d understand that and back off.
I am glad I can be honest about things like this while the whole world watches, but I’m aware that it sounds like a pity party, or a cry for attention. I’m glad that I’m secure enough in this that words don’t sting me … much. I’m glad my stubbornness appears like confidence.
But I do wish people would really see how brave they are. My confidence is in all the wrong places. It’s in my talent, my ability, my passion. But none of these things are useful for functioning in the real world. In the real world, you need to be able to network, to dress appropriately, to schmooze, to make small talk, to be nice to people you secretly want to kill, to suck up to in-laws and the boss. None of these are things I’m good at.
I suppose I was going somewhere with this, but I can’t remember where that was. Bottom line, cut yourself some slack. We all seek validation in some area. Find the thing you’re confident about, then use it to judge the other parts of your life. I say this to myself as much as I say it to everyone else. We all have places we’re in doubt, so don’t be so sure that you suck. Like it says in the sunscreen song, you’re not as fat as you imagine.
For every section in your life where you look down on yourself, there are five people watching and thinking how awesome you are. Find them and hang out with them. Everybody needs an ego boost once in a while. And try to do things for yourself. I know I do it sometimes, but it’s really hard to live for other people.
We all have various things that we do well. I have a pretty good singing voice, and some people think I should pursue it professionally. But I hate the limelight, I hate practising all the time, and I’d have to give up sugar. Lots of people can run really fast when a gun or dog is behind them, but they don’t have the discipline to make it a career. We can all dance in a club when we’re high, but not everybody does it for a living. Everybody can write, but not many people can do it all day every day.
Some people start blogs because it’s a fad, or because everybody does it. Some people go on Pop Idols because they want money or they want to be famous. Some people become anchors because they want to be on TV. We all have stuff we get into for all the wrong reasons, and then we wonder why the stuff gets so hard. We get into a job for fame or money or groupies, or simply to prove a point, then we wonder why it’s such a struggle.
But some things we just do out of love, and that’s what makes us good at it. Think about Bono, or Christian Amanpour. You can’t compare them to … say … Lady Gaga … or Oprah.
Find one thing in your life that you do solely for yourself, the thing that you would do even if no-one was watching or nobody was paying or no readers were commenting. You’d be surprised how good it feels, and how well you excel.
You can still do that other stuff that you’re good at. I can still karaoke when I want to, even if I never release an album. But writing is my true passion. Find yours. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic. I cringe whenever I hear Support people whining about the stupid questions people ask, because I’ve genuinely asked every one of them. Yet to the IT gurus, these issues are ABCs they could fix in their sleep. My brother could dismantle computers long before his degree in IT. That’s his thing, and writing is mine.
So instead of wondering how hard you have to struggle, do it for pleasure, and find your thing. It’s almost as good as milk-free ice cream *cheeky grin*
PS: I get mad at the people who assume that just because something is easy for one person, anyone can do it; people who say things like, ‘Oh I made a million dollars, you can too!’ I’m smiling because I realize I’ve just done that, and I do it all the time. I assume that because I can speak from the heart, tell a boy I love him, or do something simply because I want to … no matter what anyone else says … then everyone can. Hm. Well, I hope I can at least open a mind a little, and help one person realize that sometimes, it’s okay do something just because you can.