“You are. . .housewife? You do no work?”
“No, I do work. I mean, I do all the house wife stuff, too, I guess. But I’m a writer. That’s how I make my money.”
“You write kids’ books, or. . . poetry?”
“Uh, no. I write marketing copy, websites, articles, I blog. . . and I am writing a novel, but that hasn’t made me money yet. But yeah, I uh, I write and people pay me, I’m a writer.”
“And housewife, yes?”
“Hhhhh. Yes, I also pack the lunches and do the laundry.”
“This is good.”
That’s a legit conversation I had with a man trying to figure out exactly what my role in life is, and it left me feeling deflated. Poetry? No work? Do I look like I sit around eating bonbons (don’t answer that), writing maybe flowery love letters? Why was he questioning my work? Am I not good enough to write for money? More importantly, why did I even care?
I spent a lot of years writing in the figurative dark. Hiding the words in notebooks and in files with innocuous, unassuming names. I hoped against hope that one day my words would be launched from me and connect with someone else. Beyond anything, I wanted to affect others with the words I strung together, but the idea of sharing those creations terrified me.
So then, why write? Why do I even create if I’m too afraid to share it? It’s difficult having a goal to publish something like a novel, a baby work of fiction, when everything in me cringes at the idea of having to actually share it.
Being vulnerable is not my strong suit. I can talk a good game, but I’m not cut out for harsh criticisms. Constructive ones, yes. I love advice, guidance and mentorship. But being creative and sharing one’s work means opening yourself up to the other kinda of criticism — the harsh, cruel, faceless kinds.
That holds me back. I’ve heard the whispers, I’ve seen the posts, I’ve read the comments.
Then I watched this video of a Brene Brown talk, and I realize that you know what? She’s right. Critics aren’t the ones who matter.
Repeat that: CRITICS ARE NOT THE ONES WHO MATTER.
Critics are the trolls under the bridge trying to drag us down. Critics are the ones, as Brown says, in the cheap seats while we’re in the ring. Why do we even think twice about something so negative?
Why are we giving them the power to stop us from doing the things we so badly want to do? I don’t have an answer. But I’m inspired to be more vulnerable. I’m encouraged to expose myself (not like that, come on now), and put myself out there because despite those critics, there are those of you out there who, when I launch my words, may find some love and connection there.
It is for you, and for me, that I write.
“Without vulnerability, you cannot create.”
~ Brené Brown