Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Inefficient at being insecure

Like most things I’m insecure about, it turns out that there’s a numb place. At some point, being insecure about everything sort of wears off. I like to think of it more like polishing a piece of wood. The first pass with sandpaper is very rough, lots of grit, and it removes a lot of the bits and pieces we create of ourselves, the things we let go when we’re under ridiculous stress. The next time that stressor comes through, we’ve either built those pieces up again or abandoned them completely, but either way, when the sandpaper comes for us again, there’s a lot less of us that’s sticking out.

If I follow this analogy to the end then we’d have to sort of accept that life just kind of grinds us down, which isn’t exactly true, but at the same time, doing the same task that makes us insecure, eventually the sand paper goes to a finer grit. It’s less abrasive. Sure, it still grinds big chunks away, but it’s still less than before. Do that enough, and it gets less still.

So it’s not that my insecurities are less insecure, it’s that the part of me that worried so hard has been ground away a great deal. I understand the shape of me more, and that causes the loss of my extraneous bits to be, somehow, less painful. In short, for today, many of my writing based insecurities are living in the place that I label “true, but inefficient.”

It’s a nice box to have. I put my fear of public speaking there. I keep my anxiety about work there. It’s just inefficient to spend that much time worrying about some things. I’m trying to move my social media presence into that box, but I don’t think I’m going to manage that, we’ll see.

How about you, do you have a place like that? Or are you a completely awesome person without insecurities?

As always, be sure to check out the Ninja Captain Himself, Alex and his co-hosts today are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Compulsory New Year Post

I know, that title makes it sound like I’m a little bit under-enthused on the matter, and let me just clear that up right now: I am happy to leave the past in the past, but I’m suspicious of the optimism people express with the coming of a new year.

2017 was a hard year for me. It was good in many ways. It was BAD in many others.
2016 was a hard year for me. It was good in many many ways. It was horrifying in many others.
2015 was a hard year for me. It was amazing in many ways. It was terrible in many ways.

Are you starting to see a pattern? Every year has some good and some bad. Most years have a mix, and some tip one direction more than others. Sometimes the things we perceive as being terrible actually turn out to be really good for us.

2017 was hard in ways I still find difficult to talk about. I lost one of my dogs the day before the new year. I lost my other dog the day we swore in a president who has thus far shown himself to be very unconcerned for anyone who isn't male, white and rich, and I’m not very optimistic about the trajectory of our nation. Never have so few controlled so much. I am hopeful that in 2018 we will be able to express to our leaders that they do work for us, and this ridiculous destruction of our nation will not be tolerated. For this, I am cautiously optimistic.

I accomplished things in 2017 I hadn’t expected to. I finished a novel that had been giving me fits for years. I edited three other novels and published a fourth. It was a good, if slow, year for writing. I went to my first ever writer’s retreat, my first ever writer’s conference, and joined SCBWI for the first time. A lot of firsts for me.

I started to produce art projects again. I participated in my local Pastels in the Plaza. I entered paintings and drawings into the local fair.

So, on a personal level, I have persevered in the face of terrible adversity. I have tested my mettle and found it strong. I have wanted to quit all the things, but somehow, I keep going.

In 2018, I want to keep on keeping on. I am always frustrated that my art forms are not truly great (in my own opinion). I never quiet have the depth I hope for (probably because I’m always picking up totally new art forms, be it writing in new genres or deciding to sculpt Christmas gifts), and this year is the year I would like to add depth to my craft. I want to take my writing to the next level, and I want to take my art to something more (well, you know more than I think that stuff is cute, funny, or whatever). 

So, hopefully, this year will go well.