Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What is real?

Yikes! I haven't blogged for nearly half a month. I can't believe I let the time slip by like that. If it makes you feel any better (and there's no reason why it would--or why it would change how you feel in any way), I was very busy:
1.) Potty training my 2 year old (I got peed on and bruised a bone in the process).
2.) Finishing the 5th draft of LitD (which I did this morning).
3.) Camping in the Appalachian Mountains.

Today's post is my response to Rachelle Gardner's latest post "Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth? In it, she writes:

"What if you were able to let go of your need to show the world only your best side? Your shiny, polished and edited side? What if you were to tell the truth about your humanness — those moments of selfishness and greed, those flashes of insecurity, the envy that overtakes you at odd moments? What if you were able to portray the world as it really is?"

And it got me thinking. About myself. Because, after all, isn't that the way the world really is? I've decided to reply with very little filter. My only blinking neon sign is that I mean no disrespect. To anyone. In the world. Ever.

So here we go...

I live in a world that is utterly focused around myself. I am the center of the universe--my universe. As much as I try not to be so egocentric, it's true. That's who I am. This is my world. Welcome. You're in it. You revolve around me.

The more I try to deny this, the unhappier I become. I try really really hard to make other people my center. I insist on making dinner, serving it, eating last (or not eating at all if there isn't enough time or food), and then cleaning up afterwards. It's because I don't want to appear selfish.  And then I get tired. And then I become deflated. And then, if I'm not careful, I get depressed.

The fact is: I am selfish. I am egotistical. I am sometimes falsely modest. This is the world as it really is.

Sometimes I screw with my universe just to see if the things in the universe will notice me.* But isn't that what I want? Don't I want my universe to notice me? Don't I want confirmation that I'm important enough for the universe to take notice of? But because I'm the center of my universe, it doesn't notice me.** And then I get tired. And then I become deflated. And then, if I'm not careful, I get depressed.

I disagree with one thing Rachelle says in her post. She writes:

"The deeper you dig down, the more you refuse to sugarcoat — the better you will resonate with your readers."

I don't know this is true. If you (I) tell the bare truth, people think there's something wrong with you (me). I had a friend tell me over coffee once how she hates getting together with this other friend. Said other friend "complains. And I want to tell her to get over it." But wasn't this other friend just telling it as she saw it--as it is in her universe?

And do people really want you to tell the truth? I don't think so. I don't know that it actually helps me resonate with readers more.

How many times have I read a blog--agent, editor, author, book reviewer--that says, "Sorry, this character is too snarky. This one is too whiny. This one isn't flawed enough. This one is too flawed for readers to resonate with." Shock. Some people are snarky, whiny, perfect, or flawed. There are all types of people out there. But readers don't want to read about some of them.

We want people to tell us what we want to hear. You're doing a great job. Don't worry. You're a great mom/writer/teacher/person/keeper of the universe. My addled brain wants to hear these words. But it also translates them as: I don't care that you don't think you're doing a great job. Get over yourself. Your fears are unfounded. You're not the center of the universe.

But I want to know my fears are valid. I want to know I'm important enough that my fears have merit. I want this too. I want both. I want it all.

So yeah, if I tell the truth about my humanness, I get called pretentious or a complainer. But does anyone call me real?

Maybe that's why I cry every darned time I read The Velveteen Rabbit. What is real?

*I'm hiding something here, because that's what I do. I only provide you with an edited version.
**Oooh, conundrum. I am the universe and I want the universe to notice me.

So, really. I want you to tell me:
What is real?