Commit To Your Ideas
I set a goal when I started this blog of putting out one blog post a week. Needless to say, I failed. But I've come to realize the reason why I haven't been able to keep up with the goal I set of posting once a week - it's because I have a real fear of what the reaction to each post will be. I've always carefully constructed everything to the point where nothing bad could be said about what I created, what I think, what I feel. Which is insane. Because of course bad things were said and critiques and criticisms were thrown at my thoughts, words, and doings. Maybe I didn't hear them and was able to pretend they didn't exist, but of course they were there.
Honestly, I've managed to pass my whole life without anyone saying anything bad about me (where I could hear or see it). Wait. That's a lie. Someone criticized my toes in an online photo once. That's pretty much it. Oh. And 8th and Ocean. Now THAT was a ride of criticisms, but I knew it wasn't real. I knew who I was and that the person MTV chose to represent was not me, so I was ok with the critique. It was like people were insulting a fictional character, so it didn't bother me.
But this blog is ACTUALLY me, my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions. And I'm so scared of putting me out there in a way where I become vulnerable to criticism. But I have got to get a grip. I know in my head that no matter what, people will have something to say, and I also know that they have a reason to think what they think. Their life story has brought them to a place where reading what I've written has evoked a specific response out of them and that is not something I can shelter myself from.
Take mothering for example...I read sooo many articles and essays saying something to the effect of "Stop asking me why I don't have kids!" Meanwhile, I am sitting here listening to Elizabeth Gilbert speak to Oprah about how people are scared to ask her that question (probably because they've read all the same articles I have!) While Elizabeth is saying, "we need to have this conversation! Let's have it! It's important!" One person gets mad if you ask, the next wants you to ask her.There is no winning.
So, I have to reframe my goals here. This blog is not about winning everyone over or making everyone like me. It is about learning and sharing, with the hope that some small morsel might resonate with someone, somewhere, and improve their life in some small way. I hope this because it has happened to me. Mattie James, for example, constantly lifts me up and teaches me with her words (especially with her "60 second" emails she sends out every day!) So, along with my 2018 goal to TAKE A CHILL PILL, I intend to apply that concept to this space and focus my intention on positivity and sharing and learning and growing. And to any "haters" - for lack of a better term - let them hate, for their hate will only affect them. I will take it and try to learn from it, but I will not let it affect me.
Lastly, I think it’s important to consider here what kind of criticism matters. If someone calls me ugly or something superficial like that, I can easily let that roll right off my back. However, what I’m really scared of is putting something out there that someone believes is fundamentally harmful. For example, Ta Nehisi-Coates – who I consider an incredible, thought-provoking writer – recently left Twitter because of a public feud over criticisms made by Harvard professor Cornel West. While I do love to talk about all things beautiful – clothing, beauty products, etc. – I want this blog to go deeper than that. But talking about deep things leaves me vulnerable to intense criticisms for believing what I believe – and for sharing it out. But I have to consider, where would we be if everyone sheltered their beliefs for fear of criticism? If you want to be known for your thoughts, you have to bear the responsibility of being taken to task for those thoughts – you have to be prepared to defend, or at least discuss, them. It reminds me of how hesitating is the worst thing you could do when it comes to a physical challenge. In weightlifting, for example, it’s a great way to injure yourself. If you question whether you can lift the weight just before lifting it, you could wind up with a big disaster. If I question what I think before I put it out there, well, you get the point I think. You have to commit to your ideas. (I have to commit to my ideas!) Without that 100% commitment, there’s no chance at all of seeing your ideas come to fruition.