The critics inside of me are telling me to stop whining and excuse myself constantly. They are telling me that what I love to do and feel alive doing is useless, worthless and a waste of time. The insecurity inside of me are telling me to stop ask for peoples time – you are not good enough, they say.
Understanding the world and myself is one of my greatest interests. I have always been one of those people who respond “but why” to every answer I get. I want to go deeper and not settle so easily. I also love the magic of experiencing things I simply can’t explain and where the restless “but why” is exchanged with a fascinated “how the fuck…” My interest in writing comes from a combination of wanting to understand the why but also to express the lack of understanding.
What started off as a psychology assignment called “write about your life” turned into a dream about…a life. The relieving and revealing experience of simply trying to explain to a blank paper what is going on in your mind and body soon became my therapy and I felt like many people would be able to relate and maybe feel less alone on their own journey if I shared my experience with eating disorders, alcohol abuse and an overall lack of self-love.
The lead up
It had been a big week and my hormones were clearly supporting my emotional ride down towards that fear of how many people that wouldn’t read it, or even scarier; how many people that wouldn’t like it. I thought I was prepared for this. I wasn’t.
I mean, I had self published this book and if you have done that you might know that feeling of seeing yourself as a somewhat “fake-author”, no matter how passionate you are about writing. But I had worked so damn hard on this book, I knew that the book wasn’t fake, the work I had put in wasn’t fake – still I couldn’t separate myself from that feeling. Every word had come from my heart and bones – but right now I hated it.
Seeing it on the Amazon website with one review (from my partner) I felt the self-doubt just overflowing my body. My alibies for being a shit-fake writer was everything from; English is not my first language, nobody is ever going to find this book because it is self-published- to believing that I am too crazy and people will not be able to relate at all.
I mentioned earlier that it had been a big week, and it had. My caffeine consumption was through the roof even though I know it contributes to my PMS and I hadn’t prioritized sleeping. I basically hadn’t prioritized myself at all. Just this stupid book I’d ben working on since I was 17. Now I am 26 and it was finally time to click ‘publish’. I felt a little nauseous, my palms were sweating and I didn’t know if I was exited, scared or both.
The book isn’t stupid, I know that. It is actually pretty cool. It has a soul quite like mine; a mix of dark and light and a reverse-magnetic- will to spread love in this world. Not just by doing random acts of kindness, but through helping people find out for themselves how they can make their own life a little lighter, and at the same time also the world around them.
The only thing I could think of now was ”who the fuck am I to help people connect to their inner emotions?” I am sitting here, 24 hours after publishing the book on Amazon crying so much my partner had to shove me into an ice-cold shower to try and snap me out of my mental breakdown. Add on another 24 and I am out for a 10km run, still crying, sometimes so much I have to stop to be able to breathe. Who the hell am I to talk about love, health and helping young teenage girls to see their own self-worth?
What happened next?
I watched some Netflix and felt sorry for myself, believing that I forever had lost my passion for writing. I drank some tea (chamomile mainly), cried a lot, felt like I was useless a lot, wondering if I ever would find motivation to do anything ever again, a lot. When I aimlessly scrolled through my Facebook feed I came across an interview with Ada Calhoun
( https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/07/how-to-become-a-real-actual-successful-writer-how-to-fail-other-tips-with-ada-calhoun/ ).
In the interview she shares the ups and downs with the craft of writing and she made me realize that I am not the only one feeling like this after publishing something. In fact, it seems to be playing a big part in being a writer, or any type of creative person, to feel this vulnerable when sharing your work. Sure, I can probably learn how to deal with my publishing-anxiety to not scare my partner (and myself) to death every time I publish something in the future, but listening to Ada speak about writing made me understand that it might not be such a bad thing feeling like shit about this whole publishing thing after all – because it means that I care for this book. A lot.
Of course I am scared that it might fail me, and statistically it should, I mean, isn’t that what they all say? But I don’t like statistic – I like emotions, and deep inside, in my gut, I know that I have put in everything I mentally and physically could in this book, never have I worked harder on completing something and doing it properly. Never have I cared about something like I cared about this. And now when it is out there I stopped caring for it. Why?
I was too scared to care because if I care I might start to cry again, and I have cried and walked around all shriveled up (you know that cry-walk) for so long that another 24 hours later I completely pinched my neck in my morning stretch and probably need to wear tiger balm and a flannel scarf for another 48 hours. I cared so much I couldn´t care anymore. Whoa, all of this felt so good to say, and it actually gave me back the writer inside of me who I 48 hours ago didn’t know if I would ever see again.
That’s the beauty of writing, isn’t it? It helps to pick us up when nothing else can…