Tag Archives: insecurity

What I Took When I Left

I’m beginning to think this is just a “Serious Sunday” series here on the blog, as I have something funny for next week, but as predicted, I have a little bit more to say about the things that happened last week

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First of all, another big thank you for all the overwhelming support. Between that post, Facebook and private messages, I am honestly touched by the hundreds of you who reached out. Because people have asked for an update, I figured a blog post would be the easiest way to reply, so here we go.

This past week has been weird.

Two hours after it happened I shook off the shock and was already on the phone. The whole weekend was spent completely overwhelmed but filled with getting my resume sent out, replying to messages from friends and family and trying to navigate this unfamiliar terrain.

There have been a few moments when I’ve lost it–when filing for unemployment and honestly, most of this past weekend–but other than that, I’ve really yet to wallow.

I’ve kept to a schedule and have honestly been busier than I’ve been in months and haven’t even had much time for “fun” writing or reading. I’m sure that things will settle down soon, I’ll crash and then catch up on “Chopped” while feeding my feelings again.

But through it all, I’m still cautiously calm, a feeling that’s completely foreign to me in situations that are pretty much out of my control. As you know, control and routine are a big thing for me and until this happened, the smallest thing that upset that (pseudo) balance would stress me out.

My days were spent in a bubble of predictability and routine and quite honestly, as unhappy as that place made me, I relished that sense of security. I might not have liked where I was all the time, but at least I knew where I would be—and when I would be there.

The day I left I walked back to my office to gather my things and do you know what I walked out with?

My space heater, a planner full of deadlines—most already met for things that once held practical importance—a bottle of lotion and a pair of old tennis shoes. That’s it. After almost eight years at that place, those were the physical things that I took.

I think that when I realized that, that’s the first moment that I felt relief. I don’t know that I ever really belonged in that environment—in an office, at a desk by myself, playing the corporate game—and I never made it “my home.”

Despite putting forth my best effort every day, it never felt authentic, and along with that space heater, I realized I left there with something even more valuable.

I left with new perspective.

Until this happened, I never knew how many people cared. I never realized how many opportunities are out there. I never let myself think about doing something that I really wanted to do because I was comfortable—not hopeful for the future, but at least comfortable thinking I knew what that future was.

Now I don’t.

With that predictable perspective now shattered, I have to pick up the pieces and create something totally new. I’m still unemployed and freaked out, of course, but I’m also figuring out what it is that I want to do, not just what I thought that I should be doing. I’m trusting that something better can happen if I work my butt off to find it. I’m not stressing the way that I thought I would be an even feel a little bit hopeful.

I would say this is very un-Abby-like, but I don’t know that that would be true. I think this is very un-Abby-like for the person I was for too long. Maybe this is the Abby that I used to be.

Because the biggest thing I took from that job is that sometimes you have to let go—to what you think should be happening, to how you want certain people to be, to that predictable perspective that can dull the spark you have.

I didn’t get to do it on my terms, but this is my reality now. And while it’s scary not knowing here I will end up, I do know that if I’m brave enough to trust myself, to wake the hell up and find what it is that I need to be doing, that reality can be even better than it was before.

Hopefully next week along with some humor my update includes a new job, but if it doesn’t, I have to keep faith.

That’s what I took when I left. 

Want a fun holiday gift? Buy the books and cool things!

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Why Write?

Disappointment isn’t something that I deal with well. More often than not I keep things behind the scenes, but occasionally whining slips out—as evidenced by this post I’ve written and quickly put up before I could go and delete it.

But I’ve been thinking I need a new hobby. This writing thing has been great and I truly enjoy it, but the disappointment and rejection tend to build and create this volcano of frustration and self-doubt that threatens to erupt when even the garbage man refuses to buy my new book.

YOU CAN READ IT WHILE YOU’RE ON THE CRAPPER, YOU FOOL!

Anyway, I have a couple humor-centric posts coming soon, but that’s where my head is. Stuck up my butt in a constant loop of defeat, researching ways to make creative doilies out of cat hair and perfecting my pitch for “Shark Tank.”

But a friend—a writer friend—alerted me to something she had recently read that might resonate, and yes, yes it did. It’s an introduction to “Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Writers on How and Why They Do What They Do” by editor Meredith Maran.

Below is part of what she had to say:

“Why do writers write? Anyone who’s ever sworn at a blinking cursor has asked herself that question at some point. Or at many, many points.

When the work is going well, and the author is transported, fingers flying under the watchful eye of the muse, she might wonder, as she takes her first sip of the coffee she poured and forgot about hours ago, ‘How did I get so lucky, that this is what I get to do?’

And then there are the less rapturous writing days or weeks or decades, when the muse is injured on the job and leaves the author sunk to the armpits in quicksand, and every word she types or scribbles is wrong, wrong, wrong, and she cries out to the heavens, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’

It’s a curiosity in either case. Why do some people become neurosurgeons, dental hygienists, investment bankers, while others choose an avocation that promises only poverty, rejection, and self-doubt? Why do otherwise rational individuals get up every morning – often very, very early in the morning, before the sun or the family or the day job calls – and willingly enter the cage?

Is it the triumph of seeing one’s words in print? Statistics show this isn’t a reasonable incentive. According to the website Publishing Explained, more than one million manuscripts are currently searching for a U.S. publisher. One percent of these will get the nod.

Nor can we credit the satisfaction of a job well done. As the ever-cheerful Oscar Wilde put it, “Books are never finished. They are merely abandoned.” Only 30 percent of published books turn a profit, so we can rule out material motivation. God knows it can’t be for the boost in self-esteem. To paraphrase Charlie Chaplin’s depiction of actors, ‘Writers search for rejection. If they don’t get it, they reject themselves.’

Why, then, does anyone write? Unlike performing brain surgery, cleaning teeth, or trading books, anyone can pick up a yellow pad or a laptop or a journal and create a poem or a story or a memoir. And, despite the odds against attaining the desired result, many, many people do. We fill our journals and write our novels and take our writing classes. We read voraciously, marveling at the sentences and characters and plot twists our favorite authors bestow upon us. How do they do it? we ask ourselves. And why?”

In 2001, naturalist Terry Tempest Williams addressed the question in “Why I Write” in Northern Lights magazine.

“I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create fabric in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change.”

I don’t know if I would go as far as to say I write in hopes the world will change, but I suppose I write in hopes that my world will change in some way. Writing gives me an escape, and although at times it feels like it makes me a prisoner to my head and leaves me at the mercy of readers who might not be there, I come back. Every day I come back to the words.

And I promise words with less weight in the future, but I just had to vent. Today, that’s what writing is for (the doilies will just have to wait.)

If you write, why do you write? If you read, why do you read?

Like the blog? Buy the NEW book here. Why? It has stories about drunk nuns, Vanilla Ice and adventures at the ATM. Plus, you’ll be cooler than my garbage man. 

Be You. Someone Might Like It

Have you ever felt this way?

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I suspect that even the most secure, independent individual has had at least a few moments in which they stare at the computer and wonder, “Weren’t those last couple status updates or tweets funny or clever enough? And what about that last post, the one I poured my heart into? Why aren’t the comments there?”

The deafening silence can cause you to doubt yourself and wonder where you went wrong.

But this just in: If you’re doing what you want to do—not what you think you should do—you’re doing everything right.  

Here’s a Secret

Along with running out of hand sanitizer, the “recent posts” sidebar to the left of what you’re reading can cause me anxiety at times. When I publish a new post, an old one gets knocked off the cliff like the little hiker guy on the classic “Price is Right” game.

That means certain older posts that I liked are banned from the spotlight forever (unless I annoyingly link back, which I probably will,) forcing me to resist the urge to gently caress them while softly whispering, “You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not.”

Because while you’re the sum of your work and you build a community by consistently putting yourself out there, at the end of the day it’s truly a case of “What have you done for me lately?”

It gets harder to think of new things to say when you’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while, and there are a lot of times I wonder how much more I can blog, how many more things I can possibly talk about.

(After all, you can only bury a cat in a bright red sweater so many times before people say, “Hasn’t she said that before?”)

And I openly admit that I still fall prey to feeling insecure when something is greeted with silence, but I’ve also accepted that’s just human nature and there’s nothing wrong with that.

We want to be liked. We want to be acknowledged. We want to connect somehow.

This is where it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and do what seems to be working for everyone else. That’s why it often seems like there aren’t many new ideas —simply new people regurgitating the same things people have said in the past and being praised for reinventing a wheel that’s been rolling for years. 

But when you sacrifice authenticity for external validation or cling to attachment to results — (see cartoon above) — you sacrifice the chance to truly show off who you are.

I don’t want to mirror what’s around me, especially if it’s mediocre.

And while being the “first Abby” and not the “next (insert name of popular person I’ve probably never heard of here)” is sometimes greeted with silence,  that’s better than way too much noise.

However, once in awhile it’s okay to want someone to whisper, “You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not.” Or wish for a laugh track to play after every lame joke that I make. And a round of applause when I remember to take the recycle out the morning before they come by…

Anyway, just be you and someone might like it.

If you’re lucky, that someone is you.

Like the blog? Buy the book?

How are you?

I’m pretty sure that I could win the lottery, discover the cure for human stupidity, star in a Broadway show and get married—all equally unlikely—and when asked this question, I would reply with, “I’m okay. How are you?”

It’s a reflexive action, kind of like the way I want to slip a right jab to the noggin of people who say “could care less” instead of “couldn’t care less.”

The truth is that yes, sometimes I am fine. Then again, sometimes I’m not. And when you ask me how I am, I have a hard time believing you really want to know. But since this is my blog and I am queen of the land, I will tell you.

I am secure enough to admit I am sometimes insecure.

This isn’t something I normally broadcast to the fives of tens of people who flock to this blog or that I run into on a daily basis, but whenever someone says, “You know who you are,” I always wonder if it’s me and I don’t realize it.

Insecurity is annoying.

But I don’t take compliments well and often have a hard time accepting that people might genuinely be interested in what I have to say or do and not just because they expect something in return. I realize this suspicion is often unwarranted, but past experience has shown me that I shouldn’t rule it out.

So I’m guarded, and many of the decisions I make are often second-guessed. In fact, I will see that second-guessing and raise you a third and fourth guessing, and then a couple days of obsessing over something seemingly minute.

Taking interest in others without expectation? No problem.

Accepting others can take an interest in me without expectation? Problem.

But I have a theory.

The more blogs I read or conversations I have with people, the more I see something in the people I am attracted to that keeps me coming back—a  rawness, perhaps?

My theory is that they’ve gone through “something,” whatever that is, and have a self-awareness that produces something genuine, something that pushes things past a superficial level—online or off.

I don’t share 99 percent of the things I think or write (you’re welcome) and I have to imagine that’s the case with others (so thank you.) But when we make ourselves vulnerable and share it? It produces some good shit, and most often, a genuine connection.

Because I can see that in them, I’m slowly allowing myself to believe that the people around me can see that in me, that they like me for me and not because they feel obligated or expect something in return.

Considering you interact with me under your own power—unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on you and force you to talk to me or read my posts is actually doing his job (good help is SO hard to find)—I’ll try and drop that insecurity.

After all, no matter what you say or do, someone will find a fault or a reason to be offended. And while I try and keep things light, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t express myself and hide behind that veil of doubt that creeps in from time to time.

So how am I?

I’m secure enough to say that I am sometimes insecure—especially when I post things like this—and I’m a constant work in progress.

I’m okay with that.

Thanks for asking.

This post is in response to this week’s Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Big Question

P.S.  I updated the “Book” tab on the blog to include a clip of me on a morning talk show in case you want to check that out. Or, you know, you want to buy the book.