Sometime over the past decade, I’ve fallen into a mindset where I have to constantly apologize for my own existence. Whether it’s being beaten down by various jobs that weren’t suited to my personality, or by people who don’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be an investment banker and instead want to be a writer or work in the not-for-profit field, I’ve allowed myself to become more and more timid about my life and who I am. The constant second-guessing and permission-asking has become exhausting and I feel I’ve been spending more of my time on this than on any actual doing.
Well, no more.
I had a profound experience a few days ago when I went dancing. Despite being in my early 30s I still enjoy dancing at a nightclub whenever I have the time and don’t have to be up on a Saturday morning. Dancing has always been a great emotional release for me, but I noticed some time ago that my dance style had changed from what it was when I was regularly clubbing in my late teens and early 20s. I had attributed the change to new styles of music and had assumed that I was merely adapting to my age. This past Friday though, I was tired of fitting into the crevices of space that no one else had claimed. Instead, I was the one claiming the amount of space I needed to dance and it felt fantastic. I danced a lot more than I have in a long time.
So, what changed? I’ve been going through a difficult time the last few weeks with some of the projects I’ve been working on. I freelance, so I don’t have a set job or schedule, and while it’s great that plenty of people have been demanding of my time, it’s also opened up my eyes to how much of my own work I give away, among other things. But it’s also made me realize that I hesitate on all sorts of projects that I want to spend time on – everything from writing, submitting completed fiction, starting new initiatives and ventures, and even this blog. It sounds so silly to me now, even though just a few days ago I posted on my personal twitter that I felt like I had to apologize for my own existence.
After my epiphany on Friday, I had the opportunity to help a friend who is battling with depression and with their own struggles for wanting more out of their job and relationship. How many times have we heard someone say “who do you think you are?” or “why do you think you can do this when so many people never succeed”. With my new frame of mind, I was able to encourage my friend to be bold and remind them that they had the strength to keep going. At first I wondered if it sounded like I was offering mere platitudes, but it’s easy to underestimate how important encouragement can be, especially to those of us who haven’t been.
It also reminded me of the reason I started this blog, but that quickly got lost as other possibilities for how to best use this blog came up. Ultimately, I want to create a space where I can encourage and support anyone’s creative endeavours. There are so many critics, but not enough cheerleaders. Even when I’m editing, and I edit on average over 50 short stories per year, I try to judge each story on it’s own merit and find something that the author did well. I think this is important, not because writers’ have fragile egos, but because it’s important for each writer to understand what they do well, so that they can move on and focus on learning the skills that they’re not as strong in. It saddens me how many good stories will never be shared with the world, just because a given author was never encouraged. So, I’m going to carve out a space for myself in this blog, dare to speak and exist, and tell you, the reader, that it’s ok for you to be bold and to want to make your dreams come true.
Posted: under Encouragement.
Tags: Advice, Coaching, Creative Block, Creativity, Critique, Editing, Inspiration, Just Get Things Done, online presence, Personal Development, Practical Methodology Comments (0)