A legacy of self-deprecation

For a writing blog supposedly about writing, there’s very little written about writing. True, I’m new at this, so I’m still learning, but honestly, I think it’s more to do with me not feeling I have a right to write about it. I mean, who am I? I’m an unpublished nobody without a single book under her belt. I have two stories I think have real potential to become books, stories that I’m working on, but they’re far from there yet. I feel self-conscious talking about writing, because what do I know?

My maternal grandmother is a very talented seamstress and weaver. When my mother and aunt were young, she took on extra work from home as a seamstress.  She made my aunt’s wedding dress, she’s woven beautiful tablecloths, rugs, and wool blankets. Whenever we look at pictures from my aunt and her now ex-husband’s wedding, all she does is point out flaws in the dress. It’s beautiful, a fluffy, early 90’s dream in cream colored Thai silk. But all she can see is that tiny place where the seam isn’t perfect even though no one else can.

My aunt makes the most amazing door wreaths for Christmas, they’re absolutely gorgeous. She’s so good that every December a large number of friends and colleagues comes to her house so she can teach them how to make one. Eventually, most leave with a wreath she’s made. She gives away probably fifteen different wreaths every year to people who ask her for one, and come to New Year she says that next year she’ll definitely sell them at Christmas markets. But by the time they start advertising about getting tables in those markets she’s run out of confidence. She’ll say that no one would buy them. Then another Christmas comes around, and she gives them away for free.

My mother was an excellent seamstress, she was good at most crafts actually, clay, textiles you name it. The last 10 years or so, she made jewelry, earnings mostly.  Every time we went to a market or craft show and saw what people were selling, she’d say “I can do better than that.” We’d talk about getting a table at a craft market, selling our jewelry, but we never did. Because why would people want to pay money for what we made?

Here I am. I used to have a really good singing voice. I say used to, because once it was classically trained (not classically as in opera) and today it’s not. Your voice is like any instrument if you don’t practice and keep your skill up-to-date it fades. I can still hold a tune, I still have a decent voice, but not like it once was. When I started middle school, I applied to one with a music program. It wasn’t “Julliard” but there were tests on musicality etc., and I got in, trained in music every day for six years. I could read notes, write out complex compositions and I could sing, well.

In High School, I continued studying music, but now instead of performing in a choir, I was required to perform in a band. Because my class was me, on other girl and about ten death metal boy’s who were all drummers and guitarists I was expected to sing, on my own, in front of an audience. I did it, and I hated every second. I would get so nervous you could see my body vibrate I was shaking so much. Because why would people want to listen to me? I quit music after High School.

Here I am, 35 years old carrying on a legacy passed on from mother to daughter through generation after generation. I’m sure my grandmother had a mother who wasn’t good enough as well.

Where does it come from, this confidence people have? This belief that their creation is good enough? I want it.

I’ll read a generic novel and think to myself,  I could write that. When I get home, I look at my screen and think, no one will ever want to read this, this isn’t good enough.

I’ll go on Amazon, randomly pick out books from the genre I write in and read the sample text and sometimes it makes me so mad because it’ll be rubbish, absolute rubbish. I’ll get so angry, not at the authors of those other books but at me, for talking down to myself. No one who’s ever read my writing has been anything but sportive and kind, even in my early days when my work really didn’t deserve it. Except me. I’m the one saying it’s not good enough. I’m the one saying, it’s rubbish. I’m the one making a judgment that no one wants to read it. That it’s no good enough to be published. Me, I’m doing it, no one else.

I don’t think anything I write will ever be Nobel-worthy, not by far. But, why should that stop me?

99.9% of all published authors will never win a Nobel prize or any prize. And honestly, let’s face it, today you don’t have to “get” published, you can publish yourself. Today it’s the readers, and probably Amazon, who decides what book is good enough.

I come from a generation of women who constantly put ourselves down while always uplifting people in need. Who downplay and trivialize our talents and achievements while celebrating others.

I don’t want that for myself. I’m proud of the part of me who’s empathetic and can always find joy in seeing people around me succeed. I’ll never be that person who’ll scream “I am the greatest” that kind of ego is not something I’ll ever have or something I think you should strive for. There’s nothing wrong with being humble and having a decent sense of self-awareness. But I would like to b a person who can be humble and aware of my limitations but able to see the worth in what I create. I would like to look at something I’ve written and said, “This is good enough.”

But that’s the point of this place, isn’t it?

What I’m doing with this blog and writing the stories I’m working on, is me going on a journey with myself. To try and break the bad habit I’ve been taught. I know it’s not a trait that’s been passed down to me on purpose. But I have it, its there and I’m trying to find my way past it. The biggest roadblock on that voyage is me. I hope one day, I’ll reach a place where I can write about writing without feeling self-conscious and like a fraud. That one day, I’ll feel confident enough to say that I write Books not Stories and I’m an Author, not a Writer.

Right now it feels like it will be a very long journey, but I’m going to do it anyway.

 

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3 thoughts on “A legacy of self-deprecation

  1. You just have to look at all your comments and kudos on the fics you’ve written and ‘published’! Everyone likes them!
    So keep on writing! I’m positive that you’ll be able to write a book in the not to distant future and call yourself an author!
    #Always Keep Fighting!

    Like

    1. Thank you Masja, that’s what I do. All those comment and encouragement is what has given me the confidence to do this, it’s been invaluable and I reread them every time I doubt myself.

      Like

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