Most of my professional work revolves around writing, and subsequently, marketing my writing. There are certain commercial pressures that go along with my job that I want to be free from here. I don’t normally share my work unless it’s polished. This blog is my unedited, first draft thoughts and feelings loosely surrounding the topic of abuse. I’m not going back to fix a stray comma or awkward sentence. I will mix past and present tense, because the experience of abuse simultaneously occurs in both past and present. I am not going to overthink, or self-edit too much. I will not worry about how my writing is perceived by those who want to get all judgy about those things.
Of course, in making this decision, I become instantly aware of how much I worry about this stuff. Part of it is my training. Editing and proofreading make good sense, and I am an advocate of it in almost every case. However, the spirit of this blog is to shine a light on the areas in which I feel vulnerable. There is nothing more vulnerable for a writer than to make her unedited process public.
My thoughts also go to how I would/ could/ should monetize it. I make my living off my words, so it makes sense. But also, because I make a living this way, I am acutely aware of what a small audience there is for someone who just wants to vent. Perhaps I will turn my thoughts on this topic into something more marketable later. Right now, I want to write what I want, however I want.
I find it telling, where my thoughts go on the creation of this blog, that I question the value and benefit of my words when they are not perfect or profitable. Is the unpolished version of me good enough? If there’s no money in it (me), does it (I) still have value? These questions resonate to my core. They reflect the demons I wrestle with every day, consciously and subconsciously.
I love it when other people embrace their imperfections. Good for them. I try to do it, too. But really, wouldn’t it be nice to still be a little bit perfect anyway? Is there a perfect way to be imperfect? ‘Cause I want to be that. That is, I want to take the credit for being brave enough to be vulnerable, but I don’t want to deal with the hot ugly mess of it. I mean, ugh.
In the same light, wouldn’t it be nice if I could write something that was purely for my own enjoyment without any thought to audience or marketing, then somehow it became wildly popular anyway? I know this is magical thinking, but it could still happen, right?
There is a lot of wisdom in recognizing the intrinsic value of your own life, your own story, whether or not anyone else validates it. But there is also a tension. We need to recognize and feel secure in our own value, and we also need the validation of others, to some degree. If I see my own value, and when others can also see my value, it means I’m not delusional.
Perhaps I care too much about whether or not I’m being delusional. I grew up around delusional people. They were the kind of people who would try to convince you that the sky was yellow and the grass was blue. And if it’s not, you’re bad, and you’re wrong for not seeing it that way. Perhaps this is why I struggle with the question of whether I matter simply because I exist. I wasn’t allowed to have a perception that was different than what was presented to me. I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I was expected to hold the mirror for Narcissus.
I dropped the mirror long ago, but this question of worth and value still irks me. I know what I want to believe. I know what I would like others to believe about me. This is why taking the time to write my unedited, unpaid blog is about so much more than punctuation and a paycheck. It’s about reclaiming my own value.