Girl, Wash Your Face.
I really hate motivational and self help books and I have no idea why I continue to read them. Usually, after 10 minutes, I’m totally bored and I feel I’ve already grasped the ‘fill your cup, then fill others’ message that most of these books drone on about….
I’m currently in the middle of ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ and although my brain is always picking up what it needs and discarding the non-necessary consonants and vowels, I did find one chapter that resonated with me.
First, if you’re a non-religious person like myself, this might be a hard read for you. There are a lot of ‘god-fearing-Christian’ references and a little bit of ‘you don’t understand tired if you’re not a mom’ sections that I bypassed. But, if I only self-discovered the following lesson in the 6 hours it took me to read this one, I’ll still count it as a win.
Hollis talks about criticism and the first time she read a negative review about one of her books. She also covers a meeting that she had gone to where women who are building their businesses were downplaying their goals and achievements by calling their work or side hustles ‘hobbies’.
I took two things from this:
The first: I enjoy writing. When I’m done with whatever I’m writing, which is usually here on this blog, in this space, I always feel that I’ve explained my thoughts accurately and they make sense. Maybe it’s a form of therapy, but I enjoy creating a concise chunk of letters that I can go back and re-read when my mind is fuzzy.
I don’t think I’m a good writer. My grammar isn’t perfect, my punctuation is off and I’m sure I end sentences in prepositions, but it helps me and it makes me happy.
A lot of what I do day-to-day focuses on the ‘will other people will like this’ mentality. When buying for the shops I’m always thinking about ‘what sells.’ While reading, Hollis helped me understand that I don’t have something I do daily, weekly, monthly that is just for me, that doesn’t have to ‘sell’, and only matters if I like it.
I don’t only worry about the ‘will they like this’ mentality at work, I worry about it personally, too. A few years ago I received an apology from a dude acquaintance who apparently spent a lot of free time during our college/post college years making fun of me to our mutual friends. I had no idea it was going on. I was shocked, I was kind of upset, but ultimately wrote it off, it was years ago, I’m sure he thought he was funny, his reasoning for this didn’t matter to me, etc. etc. etc. Pick your poison, I mentally blocked it out…. Or so I thought.
When writing and sharing on the internet, the first thing I always think to myself ‘is he going to see this and make fun of me?’ I’ve mentally conditioned myself to understand that whatever I do/write/say will come with judgement, which always puts you in a position of defense. The hardest part about questioning who will judge what I want to share is the feeling that I’ve held back so many experiences and resources that can help other people who struggle mentally, and with anxiety especially, because of one guy, who thought it would be funny to make people feel bad about what they struggle with. It’s interesting who and what you choose to give power to in your life. But, I’m different now.
Even as I write this, it feels pretty awesome to give myself permission to share something that crosses my mind every single time I want to write or share an experience, or thought, that reflects how I honestly feel.
When Hollis talks about how she stopped reading reviews after her first negative comment, she stated that even if nobody liked her writing, she was still going to do it, because in her heart she’s a writer. And sometimes I feel like I might be a writer.
The Second: It’s totally okay for me to be proud of what I accomplish and tell people about it because if I’m not proud of what I’m doing then what the actual fuck am I doing?
[I’ve also decided to let you know that I have a foul mouth and I’m not apologizing for swearing in text because I don’t want to.]
A lot of really wonderful people who I know tell me about what they’re accomplishing, or working on, and then apologize by saying “I know it’s not much….” Or “I know it’s still small”, “I know I’m still starting” “I know I’m not there yet…” – I could go on. Even when I think about how I react to people who give praise when I share my story, I downplay it. Every time. Sometimes, when I’m totally unhappy at the stores, or I know they need to be cleaned, refreshed, etc. I’ll refer to them as the crap shacks. Isn’t that terrible? Things I’ve worked for my entire adult life being referred to as crap shacks.
Why would anyone take me seriously if I’m not taking myself seriously… or worse, why would you feel good about my business if I don’t feel good about my business?
Anytime there’s a press opportunity for work I always make it someone else’s responsibility. I’m not clear on the reasoning; if it’s something I am embarrassed to do, if I feel I’m not good at it, if I don’t want to be accountable,if someone is going to make fun of me for what I’ve said… but I’ve decided that I’m not going to hide behind the feeling that what I’ve done in the last 11 years is not good enough because I’m not where I want to be just yet.
Goals take a lot of time to accomplish. When you don’t stop to remind yourself about all the good that has happened along the way you will get lost down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of confusion, clocks, scary, sadness, darkness and doubt. Instead of falling into that place, I think we all have to remember that we can take a minute to regroup, get ourselves back to center and remind ourselves that even though we have seasons that suck so, so badly, we still get up and get through it because we are resilient.
I’m making a commitment to try and write more because I enjoy it, because it works for me and because sometimes I really hope that someone might read how I’m feeling and relate. The best thing we can do as humans, in a very digital, solitary age, is remember we need to relate.
I hope the start of your 2019 has been better than you anticipated and I'm here for you if you need me.