I had been gifted a set of Oracle cards ('The Answer Is Simple' by Sonia Choquette) that I already had so I thought long and hard about who to regift them to. Melissa! Not sure why Melissa came to mind but I thought she would have fun with them and I could drop some books off in her little free library at the same time. Melissa used to be my coordinator at work but I've always considered her a good friend. Vivacious, extremely kind-hearted but tough and practical with a tirade of backup plans for backup plans, Melissa also has a delightful self-deprecating sense of humour. Her reaction to the cards was hilarious.
I laughed too. Not that Melissa needs to get over herself at all but it got me thinking. Her reaction (laughter at herself) was a breath of fresh air. So many times I get myself so wrapped in in what others think of me, how many likes does a certain post get, what did that person mean when they said that about my work, how come no one likes that instagram /facebook post, how come they only like it and don't love it? On and on. A perpetual hamster wheel in my mind which takes so much energy to move beyond. And of course the opposite, feeling so puffed up and important when I get lots of love and likes. (I! Listen to me! I mean a piece of my work or a post of mine of course! Yikes!)
A prior blog post I wrote mentioned Shel Silverstein and in looking at his quotes, he said that he never took any notice of reviews of his work, even if they were positive. If you believed the positive ones then you also had to believe the negative ones, he said. Ouch. Really, Shel? Of course I've known this for years. Obviously it's still a battle for me. In school external things always motivated me. The year we were given stars for each completed project, I couldn't wait to rush in each day and see that often extra sheets had to be made just for my stars. I did try not to make this known to others and I did try not to be insufferable about it. Not sure how well I achieved that. Even now. Lol. Dad's first comment no matter how well I did with anything was always, "How did everyone else do? How far ahead/ behind were you?" I lived alone with his parents, my grandparents for a year and understood better how he thought like this. Mam's constant response was "That's good. So long as you tried your best." A nice balance.
When I find myself on this hamster wheel of fretting about other people's opinions, I've found, as Shel also said, the best thing to do is to keep on doing. One foot in front of the other no matter what. Still keep creating. Appreciate and acknowledge comments (it can be helpful to note comments, especially when I've asked for them, but in a more objective manner) but carry on regardless. That's why daily deadlines work well for me. They force me to just get on with it: to bring myself down off clouds or drag myself from swamps of stinking self-pity to just do the next thing. On my more enlightened days, I can even laugh at myself like Melissa.
The sunset last night inspired me this way. The sun sets every day whether we notice it or not. It just goes about doing its thing day after day whether we noticed its beauty the day before or not, whether we notice it from a mountaintop or behind window screens and a bric-a-brac of tree branches.
My weekly horoscope from Chani Nicholas seems to support this idea. Ultimately, the number of likes isn't important. Other people's opinions don't matter as much as getting the work out there trusting that it will find and touch, possibly help and inspire, whoever it's intended for. It's not my job to determine that or to determine who that may be. I may never know. And maybe that's no one. And that would be okay too. My job is to keep producing the work and honing my creativity and putting it out there in trust and faith. And with as much humour as I can muster.
May you feel surrounded by enough love today to take yourself lightly.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.