The Assbite, The Mirror And The Flame.
“Well, what will you do for money?” The fork stopped halfway to her mouth. Her eyes were huge, and the fear inside them was palpable.
“Nooooo, honey, you’re a jeweler, that’s what you do.” It was not a statement, it was a directive.
“What? Why? Now? You’re in your fifties.” Said by someone whose recent anthem had been: Fifty is the new Thirty.
Those are just a few of the reactions I’ve gotten when I’ve been asked ‘So, what are you up to?’ And I reply “I’m a writer.”
I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating. A lot, no, make that most – most people who ask you how you are and what you’re up to – they don’t really want to know.
It’s the amuse bouche of conversation – obligatory and unnecessary.
Which leads me to two important revelations ( bigger than insights, more important to remember than observations) that I’ve had about who I told about the writing in the very beginning; and I think they can apply to anything precious that you’re considering doing in your life.
Don’t tell just anyone everything. THAT can be considered an act of self sabotage.
That was a hard one for me because I’m about as opaque as Saran Wrap, but you’ve really got to be careful here.
How well do you know the person in front of you?
Are they safe? Meaning, do they have your best interests at heart – or an agenda?
I’ve had more amazing responses and feedback from strangers – on airplanes – than I have from the people close to me.
Probably because they aren’t invested in my old identity.
One guy recently responded “oh wow, that’s great; you look like a writer.” Whatever that meant. It felt like a compliment, but I’m thinking he got a look at my writer’s flat ass.
Advise in a nutshell – take a minute, and size up the asker.
Don’t divulge your new passion/ plans/ career choice/ to anyone who wouldn’t understand, may laugh, or potentially invalidate you – and you may get burned by a friend.
Just don’t get burned twice by the same flame.
We’ve talked about this in our Wednesday night group because I’ve found this to be true WITHOUT FAIL.
Whatever insecurities and doubts I’ve had about any new venture I’ve undertaken (and this includes relationships) I’ve always been able to count on them to be mirrored back to me by some assbite naysayer.
So those responses at the top of the page?
Of courses those were my trifecta – of – terror.
Fear of the loss of income, abandoning my long-standing career, and starting something new at my age; lobbed back across the lunch table for me to justify…to myself really.
Because here’s what happens: when you have the mirror held up and it pisses you off, and your hackles go up; all your College Debate Team skills kick in, and you’re able to come up with graphs and evidence and flow charts, to prove to them – AND YOURSELF – why this is the best idea ever!
So how can you be mad? They did you a favor. I’m aware that I’ve played the naysayer role in other peoples’s dramas many times.
Now, I hardly get any blowback, because I worked out all the confidence kinks early on and I’m better at owning it.
I’m kinda a writer like someone in their eighth month is kinda pregnant.
Just be advised; if it keeps happening, your doubts are bigger than you think – or you may need new friends.
Remember: Don’t get burned by the same flame twice.
(I swear, we should all embroider that on a pillow)
As always, I so appreciate you reading and your comments below.
When have you had your insecurities mirrored back at you? Have you gotten burned by revealing too much to the wrong person? Was it a friend? Or family?