When do you think it was that you stopped believe you deserved good things?
Not the icecream after a desert as a kid. The idea that you weren’t worth someone’s time. That you gave up on wanting the best things for yourself because you “set your goals too high”, and that it wasn’t realistic of you to want those things.
… even though other people around you got them, seemingly without effort.
When was it you accepted that you didn’t deserve to be validated?
I’ve been thinking about this for three months now. Trying to decide when it was exactly, what one person, some stranger, did this to me. To make me think that it didn’t matter what I wanted, I didn’t deserve all those good things because it was beyond my ability, but more importantly, was worth more than I was worth.
Like my worth has a price tag that I don’t get to decide. That’s based on the outside. On a score on a sheet of paper. On the figure in a bank account or the brand of car I drive.
That somehow I have a preset status of life like I’ll never achieve my dreams. Because for all those people around me who present this façade of what a life should look like, and I think it’s a lie until its not. They have those things… and it’s not what I have. That there are people with years weighing them down that failed. That there are younger people who’ve achieved goals in less time than me.
Like life is a path, a ladder, a series of steps and the only ones that matter is higher, up, more!
Even when I was too scared to take that first step because it wasn’t a step it was a plunge, and I was falling and lost and uncertain. When it wasn’t a path through a wood but a run through a forest, heart hammering, terrified of the dark. When the staircase slid me back to the bottom and I didn’t know how I was ever going to get back to where I thought I should be.
As though some measure of my soul didn’t meet up to a predefined list of fate’s expectations.
That’s when I started to believe I didn’t deserve the good things. That I’d keep trying but those magical shining opportunities were beyond me. That it wasn’t feasible for me to want something that was more valuable than the weight of my soul.
A soul that’d cried more tears over rejections than I ever thought possible. Bitterly scared by the list of times where I’d tried, and it went wrong. A platform for my voice closed. Chance to help other another author as a mentor vanished. People I looked up to stating my “level” wasn’t enough to even like a tweet. Books I loved and poured my heart into sent the same stamp of rejection over and over. That the “luck” and “marketability” and “writing” itself wasn’t enough.
Or maybe those were just things I didn’t deserve. I wasn’t enough. My worth was found wanting.
My head is a strange place with big wolves inside who gnaw on the bones of my might. Who collapse this skeleton of dreams into splinters. What else did I deserve other than to be rejected?
Your measure of worth isn’t defined on someone else’s expectations.
Your dreams aren’t an amusement park ride you aren’t tall enough to ride.
Your work and effort and commitment to a career in writing isn’t a question of “enough.”
Enough is that you showed up today. That you are ready to write. That it might not be this project but the one you write tomorrow. Or the one you wrote three years ago and failed, but came back to because you loved it so. The idea that in the absolute chaos of writing, of crafting something inspired by a few clashing neurons in your brain, is amazing. Wonderful. Earth shattering.
How did you write a whole book out of a single chord, an overheard conversation, a picture that will last a lifetime?
It doesn’t make it any less wonderful that you did it, you saw it to its end, when it comes to where that book ends up. Whose hands will hold it, what hard drive it will sit squirreled away on, or what spotlight it may yet one day see.
But I hope it ends up with me. In my beta pile. In my congratulatory tweets. In a random store on the other side of the world where there was just something about the idea that made me by your book.
Keep writing for the me who believes that no one can measure your worthiness of your dreams.