Are we still saying meta?
This is me writing about writing, call it what you want.
It’s no surprise (or shouldn’t be if you know me and / or anything about psychology) that my life has had an underlying theme of silently pleading for acceptance and the strong desire to just be understood. I’m not alone or unique in that; I think that’s what we all want at the end of the day, right?
To be accepted.
To be understood.
From babies to teenagers to us grown ass folks – we’re all just doing life, screaming for those two things. And the biggest fear we all share deep down is that no one really gets us. Some of us scream those things into pillows, and some of us wear it on our sleeves. Either way, it’s just what being a human is all about, I think.
It’s easy to say the words, I love you. In my experience it must be very hard to say, ‘I understand you’. Try it on your child the next time they seem unsettled. Look them in the eyes, hug them and tell them you understand them. Then stay in the hug.
See how it feels.
I bet it feels like love.
I’ve always been my own boss. Even when someone was my literal, actual boss… it just never took. Not because I think I know more than anyone else, or think I’m above anyone else, or can’t take direction… it’s more of a deeply embedded sense of extreme distrust in anything and everything.
And then that deeply embedded sense of distrust in anything and everything manifests itself as ‘No thank you, I don’t need your help or your directions; I will do this all by myself. And if I fail or get lost, it’s all on me and I will find the proper punishment, don’t you worry. But it will not be on you, whom I should never have trusted in the first place because then I’d have to also punish you, which is just a waste of resources. Carry on and Good Day, Sir.’
It’s why I cut my own hair, write my own recipes, and pack like it’s the end of the world every time I leave the house.
The thought of having another person or thing disappoint me is crippling.
I’m not saying it’s the most positive way of looking at things, but it’s been my coping cloak for as long as I can remember. Me and my Distrust have fought a lot of crime over the years.
Ironically, it’s the one thing I trust.
Autonomy has always been extremely important to me, if not a life line. But now that I’m writing this book, which recently morphed into a single focus on a preliminary essay, I find myself in a bit of a pickle. Last I checked, I am no publisher. I mean, on some level we all are publishers in this era of digital platforms and social media. I have a platform; it is small and it is beautiful. But it can only take my words so far. So relinquishing control over my worded thoughts and donating them to a boss who is Not Me is downright nauseating.
It’s one thing to go about life as your own boss; protecting your little self from all the other bosses who you’re sure do not have your best interest in mind, thus boundary-ing yourself into a mug of steaming safety and warm hugs. But it’s a whole ‘nother thing when you find yourself in need of something, or someone, on the outside of that locked and secured gate.
Thus, my pickle.
And the irony is not lost on me that my writing about wanting to be accepted has so far not been accepted by those said bosses. (I’m currently sitting in deep gratitude for my humor and self deprecation defense mechanism.) I’m proud of myself for turning the thought trash into pretty art, and I’m proud of who I have become in spite of all the actual trash I have been through. Now I just have to trust that someone else out there will think that what I am saying (which cannot be mentally separated from who I am) is worthy of accepting. It’s hard. It’s scary. And I know it’s good for me.
It’s just so hard, y’all.
Why not just post it here?
Yeah, I know. You’re reading this right now and could easily be reading the other things just as easily. And I’ve thought about it. It’s tempting, for sure. But – and maybe this is still part of the child in me that never got to grow up (who am I kidding, of course it is) – I just really would like there to be someone else’s stamp on these new words I’m ready to share. Someone else’s hand on my back letting me know what I am doing makes some sense. Opening myself up here is easy. I’ve done it a lot and it’s safe. But that’s only because I’m the boss here. And I have cultivated that safety for very real reasons. But I have to open up the gate a little bit if I want to continue to grow.
I’ve already done some hard things this week. I put together a piece of furniture (is a clothing rack considered furniture?) with stick figures and geometry as directions. I filled out a form that only allowed 160 characters (see reasons why I stopped doing twitter). I changed the file type of my essay 5 times, sent it to a stranger, and then got an immediate reply that it wasn’t a good fit.
I’m doing new and very hard things at the ripe age of 41 (or is it 42? Someone will chime in and tell me), and I think we should all be doing much more of them. To the elderly white male who parked with hazards on in the middle of the road this morning for a bagel emergency… to the Amazon delivery man who pulled all the way up in my driveway in the rain to then throw my package onto the 2rd porch step… to me continuing this search for a publisher who sees me.
We can all do a little better at stepping outside of our coping cloaks and looking up and around more.
So, this is me popping in to say hello in the middle of yet another editing session.
To hold myself accountable in my journey of following someone else’s directions.
Even when it’s scary as hell and feels like waking up from a falling dream.
Wish me luck.
Speaking of, Happy St. Patrick’s Day🍀
And speaking of the speaking of, here are a couple festive recipes from the archives 😉 :
thanks for reading, y’all . much love x