being human,  writing

What You Think of Me is None of My Business

I woke up this morning with a sense of dread, a feeling I am not unfamiliar with. The ‘dread’ was (is) worry . . . about what others think of me, specifically over the book I just published. It’s a normal human emotion, I think. It’s also worth dismantling.

Publishing a book has been on my bucket list for at least the last decade, maybe two, and when I took a course last year on the publishing process, I decided to publish poetry that I wrote during a volatile time. I wrote these poems and called them ‘Love Letters for the Soul’ because that is exactly what they were to me, love letters for MY soul.

. . .

In them you’ll read about a scared, unsure, deeply sad yet hopeful little girl talking herself out of every bad thing, every negative emotion, every destructive self talk she found herself immersed in. She needed it. She participated in grief counseling, had her akashic record read, worked with a jungian therapist, practiced yoga, meditation and embodiment, drank a little too much, and finally looked deep inside, fully felt the pain and turned to writing to help her heal.

. . .

Once I published I decided to buy several copies of the book and send them to friends and family. I received such amazing response from each of them. These were people who knew and loved me. It felt great. But I also decided to allow distribution of the book, meaning it could be purchased, and that is when the dread set in. Here’s why: I know my poems are not literary works of art. Heck, I even questioned whether they were poems. As I sit with it all today, I’m working through these feelings, this sense. I see that their roots lie in perfectionism, a quality I know well. Perfectionism is a quality I partially dismantled during the writing of my book. I once read that perfectionism is a form of self hatred and I think that’s true.

Soooo, when the only standard we have to hold ourselves to is perfectionism, where does that leave the rest of us, the part of us that is more true?

Underneath and after all of this, I’m still me, and I’m a me that I actually like now. I couldn’t say that many years ago. I’m not sure I could say it during the time I was writing the book, but I think the process showed me a a lot of empathy and kindness toward myself. The process truly was self healing and grace-filled.

“Write for yourself” is a statement I’ve read many times in my quest to be a better writer. I blog here to get my words out and because I must. I also write to be seen and heard, and to connect. Blog writing is much less scary than writing a book. I’ve written four different books so far. Only one made it to print, a book of poetry. The other books share a little more about me than I am comfortable with. Will I rework and publish them? Maybe some day. Today I’m just working through the dread.

My words are every bit a part of me as my left arm. My only job now is to let it go, to let it be as it is and to rest in the fact that what you think of me truly isn’t my business. I’m here to do me and to do her the best way I know how. I didn’t write Love Letters for the Soul for the masses. I wrote it for me. And that is the thing that needs to stay top of mind as I continue writing, as I continue bringing forth that which is within me, that which must come out.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash