If I were to be completely honest with everyone around me, I would probably not have as many friends as I do now. You might LOL at this a little, but you know it’s true for you too.
I already devoted one blog post to the topic of honesty, and how full honesty isn’t always appreciated. However, being honest with yourself, or putting the “u” in “truth” is what I feel to be the most important sort of integrity.
I’m the type of person who seeks to please others, and can’t stand it when people dislike me (although I have a few names in mind of people who do). I regret to say that the time I’ve spent bending over backwards to gain approval in any or all areas of my life – whether it be in looks, grades, popularity level, etc. – was largely time spent unhappily, and amounted to nothing.
I matured quickly in terms of realizing that appearances and popularity weren’t all that important. I wasn’t willing to put in time for half-baked “friendships,” or anyone who didn’t give me the time of day because frankly, they weren’t worth my time of day. I happily don my college sweats and relish in my unpopularity without a hitch because that stuff doesn’t matter. But I’m still in school, so grades are something I still keep my butt in gear for.
Unfortunately, this newly-acquired I-don’t-need-to-impress-anyone mentality didn’t transfer into my writing life.
When I was thirteen, I had an epiphany – I wanted to be an author, and write dozens of novels that would bring even Stephen King to his knees. Over the years I decided that this was never going to happen, and that being a full-time novelist was not something I wanted as a part of my destiny; if I wrote one or two books, I would be more than fine with that. But at fourteen, I decided to write my first fiction, one of what I hoped would lead to many others.
The problem was, I spent all my time typing with the thought of rejection haunting my thoughts. I had to write well enough to get a “yes” from a publishing company, which is a difficult feat. If I didn’t, all that dedication, brainpower, printer paper, and precious time will have been for naught.
After long nights of brainstorming, battling with my computer system, dealing with several bouts of writer’s block, and ultimately feeling empty inside after writing a chapter, I stopped writing [the fiction] altogether for a good three years.
Awhile ago, I spent some time catching up with old acquaintances after having parted ways for a good amount of time. It was during this encounter that I realized that I had outgrown them, and was not enjoying myself at all. I don’t mean to sound conceited or haughty, since everyone’s rate of mental/spiritual/emotional growth occurs at different speeds. But I also came to the horrible realization during the time spent making awkward small talk and meaningless exchange, that if I was spending this time knowing that I would be happier alone, my time here was wasted on what could have been an opportunity to enjoy some other aspect of my life. Maybe I could have created something meaningful during that time. Or worked on becoming bilingual in Spanish like I keep telling myself I will do. Perhaps I could’ve caught up with some old friends, engaging in enlightening conversation over tea as I had the immense pleasure of doing today. If only I had been honest with myself.
After that day, I decided to write again. I was going to write a book like I had always promised myself I would, but I was going to start from scratch. And this time around, I was going to be real with myself. My other story ideas had been too complex and too wordy. I had been writing for an audience, and writing to be published, which was what had made me so depressed the last time I had picked up the pen. This time I was writing for myself. Not writing for the sake of having my name slapped on the cover of the published package, but for the sake of finishing, even if I was the only reader.
I’m on Chapter IV now, and I’m not sure where the story’s going next, but I haven’t had any post-chapter-writing-blues yet, so that’s a good sign.
*Just a side note, please don’t ask me what my story’s about. It’s a little complicated, and it’s in its infant stage, plus I’m just private about my stories. If you do ask, I’ll likely just get flustered and change the subject.*
Life’s too short to devote wasted hours to trying to impress people who ultimately aren’t worth impressing. Life’s too short to worry about pursuing a “practical” major rather than one that brings one the most joy. Life’s too short to not question everything you once thought to be right.
And in my case, life’s too short to lag on the next chapter of my book (this is both literal and a metaphor).