So yeah, I (we) published this the other day.
Some negative feedback (mostly towards an earlier version of the article) upset me and caused me to reflect deeply on exactly why I was so upset (nothing at all to do with the lovely Jamie)!
My friends didn’t like it much, and that’s okay. I can hear that and not feel badly. I think that they will still respect me in the morning because they know that I’m about more than this.
Sex and the City poked fun at dating in this way, so I thought I could do it too.
People who haven’t spent a lot of time in the dating world may be less likely to understand the tongue-in-cheek element, the strangeness that comes with these attempts at meeting people and hoping to resonate and then just having it go wayward either due to things that make you feel superficial or due to things that are genuine turn-offs, or else the other person does that towards you.
It is really. Freaking. Strange.
One woman wrote as a comment: “I hope you meet Mr. Right.” This was so sweet, but I don’t really believe in ‘a’ Mr. Right. I think if it as a spectrum: relationships themselves occur on a spectrum (no two are the same), and the *rightness* of any given person for you at a given time is also relative.
I’m fairly content, now, with the ways my relationships are going; much of that dating *stuff* is behind me: the weirdness, the cynicism, the insecurity, the bitching, the ‘lists.’ Which is why I am able to make fun of myself about it.
That voice is a part of me, for sure. But the thing is that I kind of have an audience now. People beyond my peer group are listening to me and resonating with my words.
So I’m realizing that maybe this voice is not the one that I want the world to hear. That’s not how I want people to think of me as a person when they don’t already know me.
That voice is not so authentic anymore. It’s a part of my past self that I’ve been letting go of for a while now and letting go of this has been vastly improving my life.
I’ve been letting go of it because it’s not really serving me, and if it doesn’t serve me that means it doesn’t serve others, either.
From now on I’m going to save it for giggly gossip times over tea with a girlfriend.
After receiving the negative comments, I was so worried that I didn’t do my job as a writer by putting out something cynical or sarcastic, even offbeat, rather than sending an authentic/loving kind of message as I try to do.
Then a good friend had a point. He said:
“If you were mindful all the time, you’d be less real. Allow yourself to be low-brow or superficial from time to time. Sometimes we (the readers) need it. Sometimes, people also need something superficial to rail against in order to feel their own depth. You’ve done your job. You’re a writer, not a saint.”
Quite possibly one of the most brilliant and comforting things I’ve ever heard said to me.
I don’t need to take things so seriously; all I was doing was experimenting and having fun and laughing and just exploring different genres. That’s what we do. I know that not everyone will like everything I write and in fact I want my words to inspire conversation.
I want my words to make people think. I want to create something rich enough that it inspires a second, third, or fourth read, be it for ‘good’ reasons or bad.
Still, the lesson that came out of this is that I can not ignore the deep need that I have to honour my own authentic voice through words and actions as consistently as possible.
Maybe more importantly to understand that doing this is also honouring my audience.
The bigger our voice is, the greater responsibility we have to use it well.
No regrets (unicorns don’t know regret, after all).