"Greatness is measured by your gifts, not your possessions." It’s written on the tab of my Mother’s Milk tea bag. I’m "snowed in" here in Austin today. Iced in, really. Austin shuts down when the city dips beneath 32 degrees. The city isn’t outfitted with salt trucks. They track a bit of sand here and there, not enough to make a discernible difference. Every television program is stamped with a weather-warning ticker. Grocery stores are closed. The post office is closed! The town shuts down. We haven’t been able to get to the hospital. Now that we’re parents, I’m even more neurotic, insisting Phil and I cannot travel in the same car during such storms. "I refuse to leave them without any parents, and since I’m drinking the tea anyway, they cannot live without me, or my milk." It’s really not the kind of thing to joke about. Still, I tell Phil I love him as he sets off for the hospital.
So the quote on my tea got me to thinking about success and how so many of us apologize for it, are asked to dumb it down with words like "modesty" instead of "proud." So I dug up this post I once wrote and never made public and decided, fuck it. It’s about time…
I most likely won’t. There are things you don’t write on a blog, not a blog that people actually read anyway. Namely, success. Because when you write about your personal successes, and you’re me, it’s giving the haters something else to throw shit at. Mostly people cheer and are happy for you, and even with "most," you get hung up on the bad and the mean. Why? Is it because you deep down doubt yourself and wonder if you’re really worthy? I don’t think so. Not in this case. I’m fine with not being liked. It’s not the greatest feeling, but I accept it. Not everyone has to like who I am or what I write. "Well if you were just more humble," or "if you were more self-depricating," or "if you didn’t take yourself so seriously" or "if you laughed at yourself more and weren’t so self-absorbed," or "if you weren’t so fat with a big forehead."
If I cared that much about what some stranger behind a cloak of anonymity had to say, I wouldn’t write anything honest. I’d care so much, and be so afraid of not being liked that I just wouldn’t write it. Clearly I don’t care all that much or my writing would have changed. I’d begin to poke fun at myself more, down play things, act. And it is brave to keep doing it with all the shit I take. It would be easier to stop, or to adjust and cater. I’m not about easier. We’re not put here to live an easy life. We’re here to learn, I think, to grow. To overcome fears. I’m not afraid of being hated. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I’m well aware that the more visible one becomes, the more people will be vocal about loving and hating who they are, what they stand for, or how they wear their hair. The minute I fear how someone will respond to something I write is the moment where I’ll stop being completely honest. And for what? Fear of what? Not being liked? Believe me, I’ve been rejected enough times in life, for just being me, that I’m not about to let some anonymous clump change who I am, or how proud I’ve become of myself. And I am proud. I’ve been rejected by lovers, bosses, sororities, and The Wasband. Bloggers who comment, who either have or have not ever met me, are the least of it.