So let's just be up front honest and truthful here...it took me a long time and alot of therapy to learn not to base my self worth on the opinion of others. That they're approval didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. That I was the only one I was responsible too and that likeing myself was far more productive than wanting everyone else to like me. I was a serious "people pleaser". I stopped blaming my parents for my woefully inadequate sense of self esteem because well, they're just human and parents do the best they can at the time. So in conclusion, I do not blame my parents for the low self esteem I once had, my intense need to be liked, or anything else. But they also don't get the credit for the amazing self confidence, my comfort in my own skin, or my "I could care less what you think" attitude. I worked hard for those and they are all mine. And with any luck, I fostered those same qualities in my children. However, in Sean's case I may have "overdid".
So bearing all of that in mind...we begin our story...
The other day I received an email from Kathryn asking if I'd checked on my Kindle subscriptions lately. She said that I was ranked higher than she was (how this happened, neither of us can figure out because she has a gazillion followers) so I must have some subscriptions. Well, I really hadn't expected much to come out of the Kindle subscriptions so I hadn't checked in well, like, ever. In fact it had been so long I totally forgot my password. So once I went through the total hullabaloo of changing my password, ect., I logged on and wow! I did have Kindle subscriptions! People were ordering my blog!!! I did the happiest of happy dances (which is also probably the most goofy of happy dances) and happily replied back to Kathryn, that yes, I did indeed have subscriptions. And then I sat in happy, yet stunned silence. As there was no one else home at the time, I cradled my pride quietly in my arms and grinned like an absolute idiot. Someone thought enough of my writing to pay (okay, so it's not much, but any amount is more than free) to view my ramblings. To me, that says "paid writer" all over it. And you cannot (well, maybe you other aspiring writers can) imagine how encouraging this turn of events is, nor how inspiring. Thank you to all of my readers, but thank you thank you thank you to the nameless faceless masses who subscribe via Kindle. Okay, there's not really enough subscribers to be called "masses" but it's called poetic license. Work with me here people. And the best part...I don't even know anyone (besides Mark) who has a Kindle so it can't be like, you know, just my friends and family!
So here's happy little me, dancing around my kitchen as I prepare supper. The guys come in from hunting and I announce "Y'all ought to avoid the rush and start worshipping me now. You know, before I get famous". (This was also my FaceBook status of the day.) They of course just kind of chuckle because they are used to me being a drama queen. But then I explain, and they are appropriately awed and encouraging. I tell Lu later that night and she too is ecstatic for me. My friend J? Also Encouraging. So the next day I call my folks to check in with them. And I casually drop my big news into the conversation with my Dad. And I say "so now, I'm officially a paid writer". And he says "No you're not. You're just a paid Blogger." Um. The hell?! There's a difference?? He proceeds with "you don't think you're like Stephen King or anything, right?". Um. NO. DUH. He's Stephen freakin King. But how is writing my blog for readers and subscribers different from an essayist in a magazine? I write, I edit, I spend a frankly astonishing amount of time and thought on my blog. And he says "well, when you're published in a magazine, let me know." AAAAAGGGGGHHHH! I wanted to bang my head on my desk. It just brought rushing back all of the "it's never quite good enough" feelings of inadequacy. Like when I'd bring home a report card filled with A's and one lone B and I'd hear "what happened here?" instead of "Oh my god...you're a genius". But then I breathed in deeply through my nose ten times and changed the subject. Then I called my sister. When I told her, she was almost as excited as I had been. I told her Dad's reaction. She said he was kidding. I said, no he was in fact quite serious. She said well maybe he didn't have a firm grasp on blogging. That he & mom had only ever read our joint blog and it wasn't the same. That was just like letters to each other while this blog was more "professional". (Frankly, I have no idea what she means but I'll roll with it.) When I hung up I went to fix supper (man, do I ever do anything else??) and hubby came in and asked why I seemed angry. So I told him. And he laughed. And then I laughed. Because you know what? It makes no difference. I know what I do and it's good enough for me. And nobody is stealing my sense of validation. Nobody. And someday, when I am published by my father's standards, I'll think "in your face buddy", but of course I won't say it, because I'm completely sure that it won't quite be good enough.