Writing is a craft, like most others. You sit down with raw material and you smear it around a little. Grammar is glue. Sometimes you get it on yourself. The work is always good enough.
Sometimes it releases a tear, or a sigh, or adds a spring to your step for a day. Once in a while you sneak it into the trash when no one is looking. My kids never, ever want to throw anything at all away. It’s painful. One day I’ll miss the pipe cleaners, the puff balls, the sequins, glue and felt.
If you put your words out, or your work out, sharing your little humble offerings, that too can be painful. Be careful. Be ready. Mostly, be brave, even fake brave until you feel actual bravery. Fake brave is even more brave.
There is so much room for confidence. Take just enough for yourself, too.
But mostly, never apologize. When the critics come to caw and peck, put each caw, each peck, into a jar. Seal the lid tightly. Put it in a safe place. Open it later, when you’re alone.
Put on your good soft heart and your good strong armor first. Be ruthless in the sorting: mine, theirs, mine, theirs. It won’t all be yours, and likewise, it’s not all just the raw projection of crows.
You can always take the jar and fill it with honey instead.
You can channel your favorite American football player and throw it into a neighbor’s yard.
You can give it to your dog, to bury in the yard.
You can drop some bay leaves in there and light the whole lot on fire. They’ll crackle. It’s awesome…but don’t burn your own tender skin in the process.
Never apologize for learning.
Never apologize for agitating the comfortably mundane with your heartfelt expressions.
If you catch yourself starting to murmur our finest sweet nothing, stop and take a breathe, then double down. You did mean it, when you made what you made, and you made it from a place that is infinitely wise and kind, deep down.
Which sweet nothing, you ask? The one meant to lull the crows to sleep. The one that keeps you looking more like a kitten, than a tiger. The one that is easy on the ears of the agitated, or those who preen their feathers with external substantiation and gain their shape through the eyes of others.
It sounds like, “I’m sorry…” and whatever follows, intended to smooth ruffled feathers. To apologize for existing as you are, is to apologize for whole hearted existence. We should save our apologies for more intimate, interpersonal affairs that go awry and our outright mistakes.
Don’t sedate your fans and followers with the lullaby of sorry, they want the whole tamale–free of distractions. Unleash your best self for them. Let your tiger nap in the sun. Allow yourself space to be fully remarkable.
What can you float out there, if sorry rolls too easily off your tongue?
Saying nothing at all. Breathe, and relax your body, and be in your peaceful center. Know you’re on the right track, and if you’re not, you’ve always found your way back somehow, right? Trust.
Thank you, I’m still learning, is ok. Right alongside, Thank you for your concern. I appreciate that.
If you go away, leaving your faithful followers with no material, you can say: I had a great break, here are the discoveries I found while I was away. Look at all of this beauty there is to behold! Never apologize for living a rich and full life. That’s exactly why people follow you, most likely!
Here’s a good one from my clinical psychiatry bag of tricks, should someone bring useless criticism to your court: It sounds like that provoked a reaction for you. Aren’t our internal landscapes the most interesting thing? I wonder what that’s about? I’m always curious what my reactions are about. (Prepare to deflect a dirty look, with ease. People do not enjoy taking things back into their own laps once they’ve decided to set them into yours.)
Or you can laugh.
You can smile and nod quietly.
You can practice RBF (Resting Bitch Face–non-gender classified), should you enjoy that, or you can practice NTF (Napping Tiger Face). I enjoy that one, if I can muster up the strength to unfurrow my meticulously furrowed brow.
You can say, OK. I’ll think on that a little. Thank you for caring enough to tell me.
Remember, if someone is clearly out of line, you don’t have to say anything at all. That is not your cat. It’s not your dog. It’s not your hamster, bird, or tortoise. It’s not your goldfish.
NTF. Napping Tiger. You can simply imagine your inner tiger, resting on a hill high above the wild terrain, watching from a place of supreme calm. Breathe air into and out of your body. Smile, or don’t. All storms pass. All trolls troll on. All drama deflates, with a pop of glitter and tears. It can be wearying, confusing, and painful, and nonetheless, believe it will pass if you don’t keep yanking it back into your own face.
Your work will not be suitable for everyone, and you will need to take breaks from time to time. There is nothing wrong with the people who pass it by, caw, or peck. If a break loses you followers, more shall follow. We are all like ants, racing to the next awesome. There is plenty of room for us all, and there is plenty of awesome.