Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When Will I Be Good Enough?

A friend commented in an e-mail about how intense my blogs were last week. I had to think about my reactions to the subject matter, and I believe I figured out the commonality.

"You're not good enough."

Even though only one particular incident was aimed directly at me, that was the gist for most of the people I mentioned in last weeks' posts. I've heard this refrain my entire life, and it still pisses me off.

I wasn't good enough for my mother. Why couldn't I be athletic like my sister and brother? Why couldn't I be a pretty cheerleader like my cousin Stephanie? Why couldn't I stop embarrassing my mother by speaking my mind?

It continued through school, but now my peers and teachers piled on. Why was I such a nerd getting straight A's? Why couldn't I get a boyfriend? Why couldn't I dress right?

And it carried through my adult years. I wasn't good enough because I refused to sleep with a boss. I wasn't good enough because I wasn't employed at a big law firm. I wasn't good enough because I wouldn't work for free.

When I started writing, the rejections and the angst only added to the miasma of insecurity. Ironically, what helped, really, really helped, was indie publishing. Trusting my voice. Trusting my talent. Trusting myself.

The put-downs haven't gone away.

I had an indie writer bitch me out for congratulating another writer who was ecstatic about signing with a publisher. It's not my life; it's not my career. If this particular person was happy with her decision, then I would support her.

I also had a trad published writer tell me that since I had made a trad sale last year, then maybe now I could get an agent. There's something wonderful in having a little self-confidence. I simply asked her why I needed one if I could make my own sales.

It took me nearly fifty years to learn not to let people make me feel inferior. Sometimes, I think I would have learned that lesson a lot sooner if  had someone in my life had been willing to stick up for me.

So yes, that's why I get passionate when I see someone bullied or put  down. I know what it feels like, and I want the recipient of such treatment to know they're are not alone.

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