For all those wonderful wall-song suggestions! Even the silly ones. Maybe especially the silly ones, because I can always, ALWAYS use a laugh. It’s good to have a pile of new music, and from so many different genres, too! I am a little astonished that nobody suggested “100 Bottles of Beer”, however.
I was thinking about walls, in particular, because I have been feeling like I’ve put a wall around myself, and I don’t like it at all. I had big defensive walls when I was young, but I tore them down years ago and decided I wasn’t going to live that way anymore. Somehow, though, getting published and making this transition from “Nobody You Ever Heard Of” to “Somebody a Few People Have Heard Of” has been scary and uncertain enough that the walls went back up.
Have you noticed this blog getting more boring and impersonal over time? Yup. That was the walls going up. If you read the entries sequentially, you can see it happening, like time-lapse photography. Little by little I said less and less. It got to the point where I could barely write anything here at all, where I felt the internal censor half choking me any time I tried.
The thing about my internal censor – and my defensive walls – is that they get super zealous about their jobs. They weren’t just applying themselves here on the blog, but everywhere. My “real” writing. My life. I have been cutting myself off at the knees, truncating my thoughts, boxing myself in at every corner.
And for what? Am I so scary that I need to be contained? Are my honest words such a liability that I need to keep a muzzle on?
There is nothing terrible I want to say, but I have to feel absolutely free to say something terrible or I find I can’t say anything at all. Writing – the thing I chose to do, the thing I love – has become a misery as often as not. I’m tired of that, and I’m done suffering. It’s not necessary. I can say exactly what needs to be said. I have the power, the right, and the ability to judge rightly what to say.
The first rule of shame-Grendels is never talk about shame-Grendels — but that’s their rule, invented for their own self-preservation. They know that when the sunlight hits them they will dissolve into dust. That’s why I’m saying this here, because it will help precipitate their disintegration. It is time to stop shouting at myself and enjoy my work again.
And I really, REALLY want to get to the point where I can explain to you why listening to YES is like eating an excellent sandwich. That’s a goal, perhaps. I will know the last brick has been kicked aside when I can finally be that funny and serious — together — again.
9 thoughts on “My sincere and humble thanks”
I hear that! It sucks when your past overtakes your present. In my case I have parent tapes that tell me that I’m useless and never going to do anything with myself, that I’m never going to succeed. You can imagine how I felt at exam time at university… I shot myself in the foot a number of times.
But I got through it and I’m now a nurse. The one thing I can say with certainty is that as much as tearing through all this stuff sucks? It’s TOTALLY worth it! And everyone goes through it. I’m so looking forward to your next work. Don’t let your walls hold you back. You’ll regret it. So you go girl! Knock those walls down! Sending you a metaphorical sledgehammer from Australia!
Aw, thanks! RACH SMASH! 🙂
Oh Rachel. THANK YOU for writing this! Everything you just wrote absolutely applies to my life in the last few months, and I didn’t even know I was doling it. Stupid Shame-Grendels. Stupid walls. Stupid self-censorship because of caring about what the general population might think. Stupid general population for not always understanding us. (Um…stupid is like the worst “swear” word I ever use…so read those last few sentences with vehemence.) I think the unvarnished you is awesome, and the last 9 years of my life would have been lonelier and emptier without your writing, so tear down those walls and let your quirky light shine! I’ll try to do the same.
Thank you so much for saying so. I was looking at some of those writings of our early acquaintance just the other day, and that’s part of what precipitated this. I kept thinking, gee, I was so HILARIOUS, even in the face of difficult times. Where did that carefree person go?
I’m sure you still are hilarious. It must be hard to know that lots of people are paying attention to you, including strangers who might not try to understand you or give you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to hide from those strangers, not necessarily, as long as we don’t hide from everyone else. Trying to be less open around the people who don’t understand me and aren’t worth the effort is a new thing for me, and while I understand that it might be good to protect myself in this way, it feels very much like putting up walls. I certainly don’t want to make those walls permanent or hide from the people who know me or even from potential new friends. It’s a conundrum. I haven’t yet figured out how to do both. I suspect I won’t really be ME without being an open, vulnerable, foot-in-mouth, socially-awkward over-sharer, but the last few month have taught me that I have to do something to protect myself from the “mean girls.” Walls probably aren’t the answer, and letting them Shame-Grendel me isn’t the answer either. Sigh. Anyway, I do sympathize. I know our situations are totally different, but it’s nice to know that someone else has similar perspective, personality and capacity to understand.
Well, I’ll tell you something I remember when I’m feeling healthy and whole: there’s all the difference in the world between walls and boundaries. Walls shame you into never setting foot outside – for your own good, of course. Boundaries, on the other hand, are for grown-ups. They are as simple as this: knowing which things are Mine, and which things are Not Mine. And if something is Not Mine, it doesn’t have to hurt.
But it’s so hard to remember sometimes.
You show ’em who’s boss!
Listening to Yes equals eating an excellent sandwich. I’m intrigued…..
This makes me think of an awesome quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Shame-Grendels dissolve so easily because they lie so hugely. You’re awesome, and I’m glad you’re continuing to discover it for yourself. 🙂
Also, since this is my first time commenting on your blog, I just want to take a moment to fangirl, because I absolutely *love* Seraphina, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone I know who reads, and to some that don’t. I was looking for a story with a female main character I could both relate to and learn from, and who didn’t get all her value from her boyfriend, and boy did I find it. Thank you so much for writing it. Words cannot express how much that story meant to me, and I can’t wait for your next book. 🙂