You’ve tried and tried, and no matter how much people say you’re doing an okay job of things, it just doesn’t feel right. The way that you expected to feel is a world away from the way you’re actually feeling about any of this. You expected to feel accomplished, successful, with-it. And here you are eating an ice cream bar on the toilet, feeling like the same old failure as before.
The lie of capitalist productivity is that if we just reach the next level, if we can just push ourselves forward, then we’ll be happy. The next promotion; the next accolade, the next validation. That’s all I need. Once I get that, I’ll feel better about myself.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: no one feels like they are “there.” No one feels successful; no one feels like they have made it. At the end of the day, when you take off your fancy clothes and you put on your pajamas and mouth guard, you’re the same person as you’ve always been. And no amount of external validation will change that.
So get comfortable with it, man. When we die, we will all be a bunch of rotting flesh and bones. So while we’re alive, we may as well make the best of it. Don’t worry what people think of you; tell yourself what Guru of the World RuPaul says: “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
Separate your worth as a human from your craft, and from the work that you put out. So you wrote a shitty draft– so what? Either rework it to improve it, or scrap it and start again. No biggie. No need to beat yourself up about it. Or say you write a really kick-ass story and get a bunch of praise and some prizes. Great. No need to get on a high horse and prance around town. In both those cases, you’re still you, and you still put on your pants one leg at a time.
The more grounded you are in yourself, the more you’ll be able to handle the peaks and valleys of putting your work into the world. But if you don’t feel grounded, be kind to yourself– you’re still on your journey, and that’s okay too.
Try not to take anything in life too seriously– including yourself. Try to enjoy the journey. It’s a hell of a ride.
Featured image was created by the author using canva.com.