I had an article published on Tiny Buddha yesterday, and it is so exciting and I am so grateful and so…terrified. I feel naked. I am allll out there, er my writing, but me. Exposed to be seen. It’s scary. What have I done? What will they say? I just don’t know…
I do know that when I write it is the most joyous and clarifying feeling ever. Life never makes more sense than on days when I write like crazy. It’s so fun. To do that for a living, to be able to just wonder about life in a way that might help others with theirs…fuck. Yes please! (And to create this writing from my lil charity cafe?! That is the life of my dreams.)
The thing is though, I don’t know if I’m any good yet. In order to find out if we’re good at creative endeavors they need to be seen. Being seen means putting yourself out there. Being out there means people will judge you.
I love the documentary on the artist Wayne White, Beauty is Embarrassing. It talks about the pitfalls of attempting “that kind of life”, a BIG life. Especially a BIG creative life. There’s always people that will want to keep you small, he even made a painting for them featuring the words; “HOOZY THINKY IZ”. They, these hoozies, sit poised…ready to devour this thing that you made, that you love, and deem it (and you) to be unworthy.
Last night I was spiraling in an overwhelmed tornado, filled with words of hoozies, wishing I could just be satisfied with a desk job. As life frequently (and beautifully) goes, I happened to come across a link to a talk by Brene Brown (master of vulnerability). In this video she talks about going into the arena; a place where you go to be seen, and inevitably, get your ass kicked. To try is to fail. If you haven’t failed, you aren’t trying very hard.
She talks about various kinds of critics, including the aforementioned hoozies (you’ve gotten too big for your britches!). She advises that when we finally get our asses up into that arena, not to pretend they aren’t there, but to actually save seats for all those boogers! Invite them in, acknowledge their presence, but let them know that you are only interested in feedback coming from others who are in the arena. Those who have also gotten their asses kicked trying.
She also advises to remember to save seats for those we often overlook, our supporters! Those people who simply love us, and that we never have to impress. Though I know I have many of them, and they are the best; my writing is just starting to get out there, and the vast majority of people I know haven’t seen it. I have no idea how people I know personally will react to my writing. There have also been a few people who have been very critical of me during this incredibly challenging year, and those boogers are loud, man. LOUD.
After Brene got me out of the hoozy tornado, I checked Tiny Buddha’s Facebook page and saw that almost 400 folks had ‘liked’ my article and 120 have shared it with their friends! I recalled the feedback from yous guys I’ve gotten over these months of writing, reread comments from other times I’ve been published, reread all of the lovely comments from yesterday, and recalled supportive conversations with dear ones.
That’s way over 1,000ish people who have taken action to cheer me on! I envisioned what that amount of people looks like… That’s the whole bigass building I work in! That’s double my high school class! That’s more than the capacity of the concert venue I was in last week! (Whoa, helpful image.)
I am supported. I have way more seats filled with supporters than hoozies! Now I just have to remember to listen the ones who bring me courage, and to let them drown out those who bring me fear.
Au revoir, boogers.
One more thing, Brene Brown named her new book after the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt, and it’s so awesome it makes me want to do a fistpump:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.