Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Insecure Writers Support Group: Subduing the Destroyer

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

I am a failure and a reject.
I don't want a pep talk admonishing me not to speak of myself in those terms. I want to speak my peace.
Looking back on my school days, those not so good old golden rule days, I am acutely aware that I was always a failure and a reject. However, there was one place where this loser came out shining. I did well in English. I was always above my grade level when it came to reading and writing.
My life outside of creative writing class was anything but stellar. I was bullied by my peers. The people I thought were my friends rejected me too
Being unwanted in the real world, I turned to a world of my own making for solace. I was ten years old when I first started writing (really bad self-insert) Star Trek fan fiction. Writing has remained part of my life ever since.
I realized years ago that I really should give up writing and concentrate on more lucrative activities. After releasing two badly failed books, I knew that my stories had no popular appeal, much like the person who created them. I almost gave up writing for good after the first book's meteoric flop, but I ended up coming back, ignoring Stephen King's advice that sometimes dead is better.
If I were to profess my commitment to taking various medications for my myriad of mental health issues, people would be praising me up one side and down the other for "taking care of" my health. However, I have tried psych meds, and all of them had intolerable side effects. I have type 2 bipolar disorder. I am not normally manic and psychotic. When I was taking psych meds, I was both.
I never wanted to think of my writing as strictly therapeutic. I didn't mind it having a therapeutic component, but I wanted it to have artistic merit as well. I know it sounds stupid, but writing was ME. I wanted to believe that the world needed my stupid, crazy, weird voice. I wanted to CHANGE THE WORLD!!!11!!! with my stupid, crazy, weird writing.
Deep down inside, I still secretly believed that when people read my writing, they would change their minds about me and I would be accepted after all and at long last.
Over the weekend of March 10 - 11, 2019, I wrestled with myself regarding whether or not I should delete all the writing I have stored digitally for the past 30 years and burn any writing I did utilizing a physical medium as I find it. My description of this struggle and the dream I had at one point can be found in this post.
This internal battle was brought on by my breaking a cardinal rule I made for myself. The rule is simple. Never read reviews of my work, and pay no mind to whether or not I win any competitions I enter because I won't win.
I wasn't going to read the post announcing the winners of the February 2019 Write-Edit-Publish writing competition. I knew I wouldn't be one of them. But a (really stupid) voice inside me whispered:
"but, Cie, what if this time is the time when you do win?"
"It won't be, Voice," I said. "Trust me on this."
"But what if it is? It would be really rude of you not to accept the honor."
"Yes, it would, if I were receiving the honor. But I won't. So, kindly fuck off."
"All right, I agree that it's unlikely that you'll be the overall winner. But what if you're one of the runners-up? It would be really rude of you not to acknowledge that honor!"
"Okay, I suppose you're right. So, if I read the post, will you please kindly fuck off?"
I didn't realize it at the time, but the stupid, needy, reject of a fuckup that I was as a child was hoping that THIS TIME would be HER TIME TO SHINE!!11!!! Finally, she was going to be deemed worthy! Finally, she was going to be praised and accepted, respected and adored, and...
As I expected, I was not one of the winners, and now I was that awful, unwanted, reviled, wretched ugly duckling of a girl again, my so-called "friends" fucking me off and going up to the gravel pits without me, the kids on the school bus refusing to let me sit with them, the boys in the lunchroom stealing my Raggedy Ann doll and throwing her around, the teachers aides finding my distress amusing and doing nothing to stop the boys.
I hated that simpering, needful girl so much at that moment that I was determined that this time I would stop writing for good and destroy everything I'd ever written. I wasn't going to indulge this holdover from my pathetic childhood any longer. My one-time dream of becoming a FAMUS RITER!!11!!!1!! did not pan out and I was not going to indulge my namby-pamby, special snowflake neediness for another minute. My son asked me to take a day to think on it, which I agreed to do, but I was convinced that I would be pulling the plug and setting fire to my ludicrous little imaginary worlds once and for all.
I was determined to go into work early, to work longer hours, to give up all the artsy-craftsy foolishness, and to be completely pragmatic from that moment forward. Instead, I ended up having a mental breakdown, watching hour after hour of medical and historical documentaries, and not going to work at all.
I grudgingly admitted to myself that my peculiar and unpopular writing was therapeutic and that the idea of destroying everything I had ever written, meaningless and awful though it may be, was literally traumatic to me. Loath though I am to admit it, the wretched little special snowflake inner child won this round.
People postulate that those who are overly sensitive should not share their work because they will only get their fee-fees hurt. I despise this attitude. I hate social Darwinism. I don't think that only the boldest and most beautiful are worthy of sharing their words and works. This is why I will continue to share mine when I am inspired to.
However, I will not read the posts announcing the winners of any future contests I may enter. This is not because I'm being intentionally rude, it's because I have the psychological equivalent of World War III going on in my psyche, and I am not going to deliberately stand there taunting the enemy to nuke me. It isn't arrogance, it's self-preservation.
This may inadvertently make me appear to be a poor sport, but that is not my intent. My intent is for my pathetic little literary world to survive while I still live. Once I am dead, the moronic world of my idiotic imagination will be buried by time and dust, no great loss.
Until then, if it helps you to do so, just think of my writing as the artistic equivalent of an SSRI, only without the mania and psychosis that take over my mind when I take those. You do believe, after all, that nutters like me are entitled to art therapy, don't you?


No comments:

Post a Comment

This is a safe space. Be respectful.