Williamsburg, Brooklyn: A Journey/Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
An Altered Book, mixed media, 2003
Chapter 12: Respectability.
words (hidden in the tiny hatchmarks)
no more hiding/I say no more hiding/ I am done
On the eve of the eve of nanowrimo, the eve of all sorts of life changes, the eve of the constant work of creating myself, I like this reminder.
The chapter is called "Respectability" which points to something that others think about you. But my chapter is about Respect/Ability... which in a way, at least in this chapter, is about our own thoughts about ourselves.
I get very scared about going for the things I really want.
I am afraid that I am not good enough to succeed.
I am afraid that I am not strong enough to bear it if I don't.
So I have a tendency to avoid committing fully to my dreams.
But the truth is, if we respect our own abilities, the ability to think it through, the ability to live up to the challenges, the ability to create something beautiful, the ability to roll with the punches, the ability to revision and redesign, then going for those thrilling, frightening dreams doesn't have to be so scary.
We don't have to get it all right. We don't have to do it perfectly without stumbles. We don't have to win.
No. We don't have to win. We don't have to be successes. What about that? Is that confrontational? I find it a little confrontational.
We don't have to succeed, we just have to live. We just have to love what we love and run with the beast of our hearts.
My beast wants to take chances and try those things I am afraid of.
My beast wants to write my novels and to get an agent and to be published. My beast wants people to read my books. Oh gosh. No, it doesn't. My beast wants to write stories and get wrapped up in the worlds. Fill journals and paint pictures. My ego is the one that wants to be published.
But if it doesn't work out?
My ego might be crushed, but my beast will be just as happy to continue writing nanowrimo novels and blogging and telling my kids stories and drawing pictures and teaching people. Right?
Oh I don't know. Somehow, I feel that if I believe in my own heart and respect my own abilities, I can be happy with what I do, without public recognition.
What about you? Do you need the win to feel worthy? Or are you okay with just following the beast of your heart, damn publication, damn critical acclaim. Damn riches and wealth?
Are you looking for respectability in the eyes of the world, or are you content to respect your own abilities, and live in your own skin?