I did a thing today…and a good thing, at that. Something I’ve never done before. I submitted my first writing piece somewhere for online publication. I told my Cipro story as a kind of public service announcement about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and MCS, and I told it in excruciatingly personal detail. Let me take a moment to celebrate why this was so huge for me.
1. I struggled and spent MONTHS honing this piece. (Well, months of Saturday mornings, anyway.) My blog posts have been okay for someone out of practice with writing, but those were just blog posts. This piece was approximately 4700 words long. To finish something so large at my age, after all I’ve been through and all the education I’ve forgotten over the years feels monumental.
2. I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone with this piece. I basically said “Fuck everything – this is my story and I’m telling it.” I processed underlying trauma, too, through telling it exactly the way I needed to. And I did it well. I’m not saying I wrote it in the best way possible – I’m sure I didn’t, although I tried. But I told it my way, exposed my truth in spite of my fears, and found some profound healing along the way. THAT’S what I did well.
If it’s published, people are likely going to criticize this piece. Mean online commenters might come out of the woodwork to insult me for daring to declare that I have two unacknowledged illnesses caused by chemical and pharmaceutical injuries and underlying industry corruption.
You know what? Fuck ’em. This is my story, my truth, exactly as I experienced it, and nothing any naysayer can possibly say or do will ever change that.
Of course, I also supported my claims with relevant links, so anyone too invested in today’s medical dogma that they can’t be bothered to open their minds to a different truth, well…that’s their right, I suppose. I did my part educating. I can’t make someone change their mind, and have no interest trying anymore. I relayed my experience, and warned others of potential life devastation. If I save one person, it will be worth any disbelief or ridicule.
Anyway, back to celebrating:
3. I took a huge step pursuing one of my lifelong dreams. How will I ever succeed as a writer – or as a designer, or an artist, or anything else, for that matter – if I’m too afraid to put myself out there and risk looking the fool?
Answer: I won’t. It will never happen. It still may never happen, but you know what? That’s okay, because on my deathbed I’ll be able to say I tried. Writing is one of my callings. I will continue writing until the day I die, whether or not I’m good at it, whether or not people read my words, and whether or not my life ever looks outwardly successful by society’s standards. Guess what? The act of doing, of trying, of persevering, of spending hours, days, weeks, months, years in joyful pursuit of your passions IS a version of success unto itself, AND its own reward. It may not come with money or riches or a safety net of any kind – or it may, who knows – but it will come with a sense that I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life. THAT is priceless. (But hey, universe, I’ll take money, too. I’m open to all forms of abundance, just to make that perfectly clear.)
(Why, yes, I did just feature metaphysical guru, Louise Hay, and Mr. T in the same blog post. Why do you ask?)
I’m so proud of myself. Three years ago, the mere idea of writing this piece, then submitting it to potentially be read by hundreds if not thousands of people was unthinkable. I wanted to, though…I SO wanted to. But I was too scared, and too preoccupied with the fear of people reading my words and judging me as crazy, or unintelligent, that I subconsciously blocked my own progress every time I sat down to write – by either procrastinating after barely starting, or by being so obsessed with choosing the right words and the correct grammar that I never got far. But ultimately, I kicked fear’s ass. You hear that, fear? I won. (For today, anyway.)
Oh, and I also thought that writing my story would entail defending my experiences, or having to prove them somehow. Nope. It didn’t. I mean, I provided links, but I didn’t plead my case like I thought I’d have to. All I had to do was tell my story. I can’t control the outcome – or what people choose to believe about me after I bare my soul.
Not trying to control outcomes in my writing has set me free. I figured out that by attempting to control the outcome of this piece, I was trying to please everybody, which is kind of my default setting. Guess what? Not everybody can or will be pleased. Trying to do so dampens my self-expression, and makes me shrink in fear, holding myself back and wasting valuable energy.
I’m also ready to stop trying to please everyone in other areas of my life, besides writing. Because guess what else? Not everyone has to like me as not only a writer, but as an artist, or even as a person. They don’t have to like my personality, my sense of humor, my appearance, or my choices. But that’s okay. My role in life is to be myself and do the best I can, not alter myself to fit everyone’s contradictory ideas about who they’d like me to be. (The same is true for you, too, reader. I don’t care who you are – it’s true for all of us.) The process of writing this piece helped teach me this. I mean, I KNEW it on an intellectual level, but I didn’t know how stealthy and all-encompassing this pattern was – that it showed up in small, hidden ways, like during the simple act of writing. No wonder I’ve never been able to finish anything until now! And no wonder I used to struggle with depression – all that goddamn people-pleasing depleted my energy!
Also, no wonder I’ve spent most of my dating life involved in terrible love relationships. I subconsciously sought out people for whom I’d have to change myself in order to please, because I was afraid show my true self for fear of rejection. Then they treated me like a doormat, or worse. Hello, life epiphany #4726264. Or, hello again. There’s a good chance I actually realized this years ago and subsequently forgot. There might even be a reference to this epiphany somewhere on this blog. Ha!
Anyway, things are a-changing, folks. Even if the person I submitted this piece to doesn’t publish it, the ball is in motion. I will keep writing (about whatever!), and keep trying, no matter how many rejections I get.
Also, I will keep striving to be true to myself while doing what I love. There’s no turning back now! After all, according to Louise Hay, that’s how you attract abundance in your life.
Mr. T would probably agree.