Two days into 2018 and I’m already making some bold moves.
Bold is of course subjective. But to me, the choice I’ve made it feels courageous enough to take a moment to celebrate.
It started last month when I submitted a post about my dad and I reconciling to the Huffington Post (Check it out here.)
If you’re a follower of my blog you might be wondering why. I previously explained in this post a bunch of legit reasons why I didn’t want to share my writing on that platform anymore.
The answer: I got a great organic response from that piece (Organic = no paid promotion.) People really connected with it, it was uber cathartic to write, and I felt like it had the potential to inspire huff post readers to work on forgiving themselves and others. (Forgiveness = emotional wellness. Believe it.)
Couple that with my ego telling me I needed to work on remaining relevant as a writer and use my platform there to market myself, and I pressed submit.
I pretty much forgot about it after that, save for a few 2 am reminders via a visit from my asshole friend, Shameful Rejection (seriously dude, sod off.) Usually, I’ll get an email telling me when they publish something I write. And I get google alerts telling me when they mention my name in a social share.
But I didn’t with this one, so naturally, I avoided logging in to my blogger account to see if there were comments suggesting I change things up.
Why? Because if they want me to change things my inner rejected and traumatized child tells me it means I’ve failed. If I haven’t delivered something perfect I didn’t do a good enough job. (Yes I’m aware this is a troubling way to look at criticism, and yes I’m working on changing that belief.)
So I pushed through the fear and logged in yesterday, and found there were comments and suggestions on how to change it. Surprisingly I didn’t take their existence as a sign that my writing was shitty. I even replied and told the editor I’d work on making the suggested changes.
But I very quickly started to feel the need to be bold and stand behind what I’d written.
To paraphrase the editor’s suggestions, the piece would be better if I turned it into a “5 ways to reconcile with your parent” type thing. Basically, he wanted me to completely rewrite it. He wanted me to turn my heartfelt and emotionally cathartic post into something trendy, and use the delicate nature of my newly mended relationship with my dad as click bait. Plus, he wanted me to violate my dad’s privacy by using his image in the piece.
When I explain it like that it sounds like the dude is a total asshole. Please believe me when I say this isn’t the case at all. The blog editors at Huffington post are lovely people and I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with every single one I’ve dealt with.
The guy was just doing his job and adhering to Huffington Post’s MO, which is to pump out click-worthy content. They are looking for content that grabs the attention of the masses, and what he asked me to do is in alignment with that MO.
But that’s where I don’t fit into the equation. I don’t write to be popular. I started writing because I had to. It lights me the F*** up and helps me heal and make sense of all the shit that happens and has happened in my life.
Writing has helped me learn to like and appreciate who I am, eradicating deadly addictions in the process.
The years I spent pursuing the acceptance of others and trying to fit in demolished my self-esteem and self-worth. I sacrificed my emotional wellness by committing my life to seeking the approval of others.
Why would I revisit that life? Why would I hack up a piece of writing I’m proud of and that inspired others, for the sake of fitting in with the masses?
I realized after I told the editor I would make his suggested changes that the idea of turning a raw and honest piece of writing that I am proud of into a “5 ways to…” article makes me want to barf.
And while the Huff post editor dude was just doing his job, what he suggested just highlighted that they aren’t into my style of writing: they are only interested if it is coiffed to conform to mass consumption standards.
I’m not interested in entertaining the masses. I’m interested in inspiring others to invest in their emotional wellness.
This leaves me to make a bold decision: Do I sacrifice my instincts to be true to my calling, or do I conform in a desperate attempt to be relevant?
I think I just answered my own question. 😉
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