Broken Words

There are certain phrases I’ve been programmed to say, regardless of their validity or fairness.

I’m fine, just tired.

I’m sorry, it’s all my fault.

I can’t draw.

Honesty is for the internet, because the conversations online are often less taxing than ones offline. Also? I’m often a coward. It’s easier to take the blame or shrug off the problem than it is to risk the people I know telling me they don’t believe me. My current counsellor calls me an ‘unwilling people pleaser’.

He kinda has a point.

I found myself, over and over, saying I couldn’t draw today. Silliness happened online, and I wanted, needed, to draw it. Me feeling inspired to art, knowing it would be seen by someone I respect the hell out of? It’s rare.

When I was in highschool, I had a shitty art teacher who made me feel like crap about everything I tried to do. I started out passionate, engaged. Not a shocker: growing up when I was asked what I wanted to be, my answer was almost always ‘writer, singer, artist’. Sometimes ‘palaeontologist’ so I could work with my big sister. By the time I graduated I was half-assing assignments like nobody’s business because, over and over, that art teacher told me I was shit at art, and eventually I gave up and started believing.

Grade nine, she ‘helped’ me with an assignment, taking over and adding glue and white paint to the surface of my artwork while I was out of the room. She’d suggested the addition, and I’d said no, I didn’t think it’d work with what I was trying to do. She failed me for those additions, because they were too much and ruined the overall look of it. It clearly didn’t go with what I was trying to do.  She even managed to break the triptych I’d made for an art showing at the school, cutting the linking chains and gluing Velcro to the back of the timber, and basically making sure it couldn’t be salvaged after the event. She hung the pictures- of ghosts, because I was a morbid little shit even back then- upside down. I remember looking at everyone else’s work, all beautifully presented, with mine arranged upside down and lopsidedly haphazard, hidden in the back like it was an embarrassment. In class, the old cow would stand behind me as I worked, pointing out flaws and asking why I couldn’t be like her favourite student.

Four years of that, and it was ingrained pretty well that I suck at art. It took years to even pick up a coloured pencil again. But the thing is, I enjoy being creative. And I’m even okay at it when I get out of my own way.

For the first time in forever, I decided to make something and show someone. It’s not perfect, granted- I’m not going to be animating anything for Disney. But I like it. It’s cute. And it makes me happy. It also makes the person I’m giving it to happy, which is kinda the point.

But still, even looking at a piece of paper covered in proof to the contrary, in the back of my mind I hear ‘I can’t draw.’ To the point I got spooked. I actually worried whether one of my friends would be angry about it- even though he’s the kindest, most easy going person who would never give someone shit for imperfect art. I was genuinely worried he’ll be mad about a picture because ‘I can’t draw’ and he might be offended that I took the silly and made an ugly picture of it even though I know it’s not ugly and actually like it.

My brain is a complicated place to be.

We all have a running narrative of bullshit forced into our heads from ourselves, but also from those around us. The unhelpful relative who tells us that we could stand to lose some weight if we want to get/keep a partner. The teacher who told us boys only like girls who smile (jokes on you, asshole: I still get hit on when I’m scowling, so there!) The helpful sort who explained that creativity is a hobby, not a career, and starving artist is all you’ll ever be because you’re not talented enough to be in the minority of successful art makers.

I’ve recently started cognitive behavioural therapy, which is fucking phenomenal for someone who likes picking things apart to study them. It’s hard, sometimes, but I kinda love it, because it’s like dissecting a story to see how the author made it work.

I am the writer of my life story, and gods dammit, but I’ve made it a hell of a complicated narrative.

In a way, in CBT sessions we play a game: find a negative thought currently fucking me up, and figure out where it came from. What started that fear, or running monologue? And how do I change that belief now?

I was scared to show a friend a picture of some My Little Ponies because a woman told me when I was younger that I can’t ‘do’ art properly. Given she was in a position of authority on the subject and was bullying the hell out of me, I started to believe her, to the point where that voice in my head telling me I suck is hers, even after all these years.

What I didn’t expect was how that ‘you’re not creative’ fucks me over as a writer. I’ve been writing fiction for years, but rarely sharing it. Certainly never getting it published away from spheres I control, even though I want to be an author. But I hesitate, over and over.  Because ‘you’re not creative’ wormed its way into the part of my creativity that means the most to me.

The bullshit we’re told is sneaky. It gets into the nooks and crannies you don’t expect it to be in, until you’re left wondering what the absolute fuck is wrong with you. You chalk yourself up to lazy asshole levels of uselessness, beat yourself up emotionally for the wasted effort, and never realise that there might be something just below the surface.

We’re all a melting pot of our own baggage, and the baggage other people have dumped onto us, knowingly or not.

The thing about epiphanies is that they’re fucking worthless on their own. I am really, really good at having them- at picking things apart and understanding why they’re happening. What I suck at is figuring out how to fix things.

I’m getting slowly better though. Here, I know that Van Gogh had a good point: if you hear a voice saying you can’t paint, paint and it’ll stfu. Push through, and take some of the pressure off, and suddenly that big scary ‘can’t’ is turning into a ‘kinda can’. Take the Dory approach (just keep swimming), and ‘kinda can’ turns into ‘can’ turns into ‘fuck me, I’m awesome’.

When they said you have to suffer for your art, I had no idea that they actually meant that you’ll probably suffer crippling self-doubt and a society given belief that you’re unworthy to call yourself a creative. But there you go.

The Sunday Circle: A Reckoning

It’s… it’s been a while since I’ve done this, gentle reader.

The utterly kick-ass wonder, Peter M. Ball, has a weekly Q&A opp over at Man Vs Bear, asking 3 simple questions. I’ve been meaning to answer these weekly for a while now. No, really, there are drafts and everything.

So here’s me, sheepishly creeping back into the routine.

What are you working on this week?
Too freakin’ much. Nobody should be shocked at this point. I’m trying to get the review blog live, finally, after a kabillion irritating setbacks. It means figuring out how to set it out, and… yeah. Not my happy place.

I’m also trying to get back into a writing habit, because the move last month absolutely destroyed my focus, and my ability to get anything done. I need to get back on track with the music challenge, and Smart People Talking, too. I’m still trying to catch up on the reviews owing, because, again, moving house sucks heartily.

And I’m trying to wrap my head around how much writing I need to get done this year to keep up with all the longer form projects I’m involved in. You know that moment when you start thinking you’ve maybe bit off more than you can chew, but you decide to try and choke it down anyway because what’s the worst that could happen? 

Yeah. That’s me.

What is inspiring you at the moment?
The new project is a lot of fun, and getting to bounce ideas off someone is awesome. The idea of learning in a more hands-on way about the industry is equal parts brilliant and terrifying.

Being somewhere with minimal internet and zero TV means having to actually write or read, which is great for productivity. Or it will be, when I can get my brain up and running properly.

What part of your project are you trying to avoid?
Designing the review blog. Because Jesus-freakin-Christ, that’s the part I hate. Have you seen how shittily basic this blog is? For whatever reason, whenever I try and trudge my way through the design stuff, I just… my brain just does not compute wtf needs to be done to make it all suck less.

I want it to look good. Professionally casual, I suppose? It’s a bunch of people wanking lyrical about books, nothing academic or overly serious, but I don’t want it to look like some 13 year old’s dear diary, either. But easy af to navigate, and no stupid poppy-uppy mofo asking for people to subscribe or whatever before they’ve even gotten to look at the blog. Because those things are the devil’s work.

And I need to figure out how to (cheaply, because sudden unexpected move means all hail the poverty for a while) make sure that the authors are credited properly. One of the sites I freelance for has the owners name show up on the links, so it essentially credits her for everyone’s work until you click the link and read down. I 100% don’t want to do that. But I don’t know enough to not do that, and this is why this part of the project has been summarily ignored. Like, I need to have one person uploading, because everyone is busy af and it’s easier just to have one person scheduling things than everyone trying to. But I want everyone’s work immediately and clearly credited to them. And I have no idea how to explain that in a way that someone who knows how to fix the problem is understanding.

Honestly, we’re all speaking English, but we’re speaking vastly different languages right now. I hates it, precious.

Also? The writing. Mostly because I’m just a tad overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things I need to get done, and my brain is just kinda looking like Sam Neil when he first sees a dinosaur:

dafuq is that dinosaur doing there

 

Fail. Fail Better.

At the beginning of the year, I set myself an ambitious, but not entirely unreasonable challenge: 2,000 words of writing every day for the year. Which sounds kinda cruisy until you do the math: that’s 730,000 words in a year.

…That’s a big number.

I kicked ass in January, and came close to hitting 1/7th of my goal in the first month of the year. February? Not so much. Life became about the stress of the move, big time. If you’ve ever had minimal money and maximum need for accommodation in Brisbane (or anywhere with unreasonably high rent)… you know what it’s like.  2k a day became ‘get your work done and survive’.

It’s hard getting back into the swing of writing. Even with so small a break, it feels like the muscle memory has died off in the weeks I’ve been freefalling and focused elsewhere.

The voice of anxiety is booming that it’s doomed- how can I catch up? To be back on track means getting another 86k written this month. That’s a big ask with a sprained finger I’m meant to be resting.

Shall I give you a moment to get the dirty jokes out of your system?

crowley is bored
I’m waiting…

We good to continue? Lovely. No, it wasn’t doing anything fun. It was hauling stuff around. And now every time I use it to hit a key (or turn on a light, or use my phone… or…) it reminds me, rather painfully, that I need to cut that shit right out this instant. I want to write, but I also kinda want the pain to stop, too.

So how do you get back on track when it feels like that goal lives on the impossible end of the spectrum? You learn to fail better. I managed about 13k last month. I doubt I’ll make 100k this month to compensate, and that’s okay, even though in this moment anything less than 100k feels like an epic kind of fail. I’m already at 14k- I’ve already beat last month’s word count in two days of work. Instead of saying ‘I must hit 100k’, let’s say 70k- about 10k more than my set monthly target. If I add that little bit extra each month, boom. I’m caught up by the end of the year. It still feels like a bit of a failure, because I’m rocking the anxiety girl chic right now, but it’s failing better than last month, at least.

It’s not always about the massive instant fix. Sometimes, slow and steady is the better option.

Goals and Life

Last month, life went fairly well. Rocked the fiction writing goals, made progress on a bunch of stories- things went so well I blasted past my original word count target by 30k-ish.

I rocked it like a hurricane.

This month? Not so much.

I’m frantically house hunting, which, if you’ve ever tried to find affordable, pet friendly, public transport accessible housing in Brisbane, you’ll know it’s the mental equivalent of stabbing yourself in the arm, over and over every single day, hoping that this time it won’t hurt as much. Funnily enough, that doesn’t help get things done.

At the same time, I’m packing, or trying to. It’s a slow process to try and find all the little bits that have gone awry over the last year, especially when you work from home and actually have to… y’know, get that work done. It’s even more fun to be trying during a heatwave, in a house without air con or fans, with three cats demanding regular attention.

In ye olde worldy days, when I was young and stupid, I asked writers- a lot- how they managed to make it all work. I mean, let’s be honest: life is a shit storm sometimes. How does anyone get anything done in that?

And almost every single writer trotted out that painful line ‘if you value it, you’ll do it’. Which, let’s be honest, is the sort of privileged, hunk of shit answer that sounds like it’s given to them along with the publishing contract in a cheesy ‘how to’ guide style format. I’m gonna be honest: as soon as anyone says it, I assume the biggest issue they’ve ever faced is a slightly sore toe. Maybe a vague sense of unease that lasted about five minutes.

I tend to roll my eyes and look for someone slightly more real and relatable to talk to.

You can value the hell out of something, and still not be able to give it the attention it needs or deserves. The truth is that sometimes, life is gonna kick you in the crotch, and you’re gonna need to rest instead of forcing your way through the pain to the other side. Sometimes, other things need to be of higher value in your life. Like not being homeless. Or not having to replace a bunch of stuff at the worst possible time. There are gonna be times when you write like it’s the easiest thing in the world, and there are gonna be times when every word feels like you’re dragging it kicking and screaming from a tar pit and trying to scrub it clean while it tries to rip your arms off. That’s pretty damn time consuming.

My goal this month was 52-ish thousand words. I’ve just passed 12k. And, honestly? That’s okay. That’s actually pretty damn phenomenal, given the circumstances. Instead of focusing on the lost 40k, I’m focusing on the found 12.

The more stress I throw at myself to get it done, to try and write 40k and pack and move and house hunt and…and…and… the more I’m going to struggle. The more I try to play catch up, the more I throw guilt into the mix, the more impossible it’ll feel, and the quicker I’ll give up. Guilt kills creativity.

So instead, I’m kicking back and relaxing. I’m saying it’s totally fine that there will be months where I get nothing much done. It happens. Life goes on. 12k is infinitely worthy of celebration in a month like this.

Hell, 10 words in a month like this? Still a number to be proud of. Surviving the month without getting a single word down would have been worthy of celebration.

Sometimes, where you’re at is enough. Sometimes, you need to put down the goals you’re beating yourself to death with, and accept that next month will be better.

Progress, not perfection, right?

Habits and Challenges

I’ve been blog-stalking Peter M. Ball for basically forever at this point. And for just as long, I’ve read his conversations around organising and understanding your writing habits, and figured that was something for people way, way smarter than me.

It’s been easy to shit all over that idea that writers can actually own their writing habits, and take charge of their writing. After all, we’re meant to be chasing that ever elusive muse, right? If you’re not waiting for inspiration to rain down upon you like glitter, you’re not really a writer, right??

Writers, like all creatives, have some bullshit ideas hidden in the nooks and crannies of their career goals, both in terms of the art and business of being creative, and in terms of our personal ability to rise to the challenges that show up. I am rife with silly ideas (did you notice that bit about me not being smart enough, because hi, that’s a RIDICULOUS idea). And Peter is 100% right when he says the best way to write more, and better, is to get those stupid ideas out of your gorram skull. Like Van Gogh saying ‘If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced’, but with more of a ‘sit your ass down and write, dammit’ vibe. 

Peter M. Ball is the snarky, grumpy as hell older brother I never knew I needed, and if you don’t read his blog, you really, really, really need to. NEED. TO.

So, here’s the thing: this year, I’ve decided to actually try Peter’s suggestion of setting actual, achievable goals, monitoring how much I write each day, and how long it’s taken me to get it done.The glorious Matthew J. Hellscream and Melanie Edmonds both pointed me towards the word trackers they use- pay as you like arty, gorgeous spreadsheets by Svenja Gosen. And while, let’s be honest, I struggled to choose between the Black Widow, Winter Soldier, and Peggy Carter art, I finally settled on some girl power, and got the hell to work. I’m still getting the hang of this monitoring business, but so far? Wow. The shift in my focus and motivation has been staggering.

Remember: up until this point, I’ve been a sporadic writer of fiction, with massive goals and no sense that I’m anywhere near achieving them. There’s a reason I talk about my writing in terms of gamboling about like a hyperactive bunny.

My 2017 challenge is 2k a day. I know I can hit that target if I try, without it being too painful- I hit almost that amount daily during Nanowrimo, so kicking it up a few hundred extra words daily isn’t that big a deal. It’s a low-ball number for me, given the numbers I can hit during The Rabbit Hole (which makes me feel guilty because most of my friends average about 1k daily, and I’m still learning how to not feel guilty about shit like that).

And what I’m realising is that the more I sit my ass in a chair and write, the less time it takes to reach that 2k. There’s some room to wiggle here- if I’m having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, then it’s like pulling teeth that have been cemented into place. Same if I’m overtired, not feeling well, or working on transcription work. But when I’m writing fiction, and I’m in a good mental and physical space- boom. Done. I can churn out 2k in the hour and a bit before my flatmates get up of a morning, all the while playing with my ridiculously attention-seeking cat. And then, in the teensy spare moments of the day, I write a little bit more.

The more I do it, the easier it gets. I know writers say that a lot. But until now, I didn’t understand that it wasn’t just one if those shitty things people say because everyone else says it.

With 2k a day, the overall goal is 730,000 words. Which is, let’s be honest, a gorram terrifying number to see staring you down from the top of a tracking sheet. It’s not much better when you break it down to the monthly goals: the goal amount for January was 62,000 words.

But here’s the thing I honestly didn’t get until I started this challenge: it piles up, far quicker than I thought it would. And that’s true even though there’s been days this month where I haven’t written a damned thing. Even with those gaps, on the days I’ve written, I’ve yet to have a day where I’ve hit 2k exactly, and stopped. There’s always been a few hundred words more. Or a thousand. Or, y’know, way more.

Participating in The Rabbit Hole at my local writers centre threw 40k into the mix in three days. Even with a few days of not writing at all, I’ve well and truly kicked past that original goal. Yesterday, I decided that I was close enough to 90k that I might as well bump it up to there. Today, having blasted past that goal, I’ve decided to try for 100k.

Or, to put it another way: after one month of sitting my ass down and focusing, I’ve written more useful words in the span of a month than I did in the whole of 2016. That scares me a little.

Partly, it’s scary because holy shitballs, how much time have I wasted and how much more prolific would I have been with some gorram disclipine? Partly it’s because I know those are the kind of figures that will not be sustainable. I’m having fun now, and my brain (other than the Rabbit Hole days) hasn’t been exhausted by this effort, but I know these are not the numbers I’ll be pulling every month. Which is scary, because my brain needs constant reminders that this isn’t going to last and that’s totally, completely okay.

By the end of the month, I should be just shy of 1/7th of my way through my yearly goal. Which, wow. I don’t even know what to do with that information, right?

But, yes, basically, this is me:

james-spader-boston-legal-2

 

 

Rabbit Hole Realisations

Because I need to write 200ish more words to reach my 15k target for today, and because honestly, my brain is ridiculous right now from the sleepy, I figured screw it. List post.

Sorry.

(Update: having gotten through those 200 words, I’ve realised that a few hundred more will take me up to 40k for the weekend, and let’s be honest, I’m gonna go there. Double sorry.)

Realisations:

  • Hard core writing makes me a hard core carb chaser. Seriously, I have never wanted carbs more in my life. There’s probably someone scientific who can explain it, but yeah. Carbs and bananas were totally my thing this weekend, and I have zero clue why.
    Pro tips: if you’re going to be writing like a machine for a few days, try and remember that your body is probably going to decide it’s ravenous, and it’s probably going to randomly decide it wants a certain kind of food. Just go with it. If you’re working outside of your home, take extra snacks and a bit more food than you think you’ll need.
  • Me focused on writing is even more antisocial than usual. Unless you’re the boy, the bestie, or the parental, you’re probably not going to get a lot of attention if I’m pushing myself to get lots of words on the page. I know this because one of my fave writers, bloggers, and humans tried to get my attention in person MULTIPLE TIMES, and failed miserably. I only realised he was in the building when I took a Facebook break and got upset I hadn’t noticed him to say hi. (He was still there. I didn’t feel terrible for long, thankfully. Okay, I still feel a little bad, because anxiety girl is more noisy when I’m overtired, and I’ve deliberately created a situation where I’m overtired, but you know what I mean. Hopefully. Maybe.)
    Pro tip: figure out how you write best. If you need music, use it. If you need white noise, go with it. And if you know you’re going to be an antisocial little penmonkey, make time to talk to the people around you, so they know you haven’t run off to join the circus, or whatever it is the people around you worry about.
  • This isn’t like curling up and binging Netflix for the day. You’re probably gonna need to move.
    Pro tip: movement sends more blood to your brain. Get up. Dance (especially if you’re in a public place- that shit is hilarious). Take regular breaks to get your butt out of the chair and move around. Flail your arms, give your hands a break, and try and avoid finger cramps if you can. I didn’t do that. My thumb cramped 3 days in a row. This is not something I’d recommend.
  • Oh, gods, my laptop weighs so much more than I think it does. Honestly, the bag I took was heavy af. Not okay. I really need to do something about that, because by day three, OUCH.
    Pro tip: If you’re writing outside of your usual office space, be aware that the crap you cart around with you is going to get heavier the longer you’re lugging it around. Try to pack light if you can. Or drive. Driving is good. If you have a rugged, strong human willing to carry your stuff, this is also a valid option.
  • Exhaustion feels a little like being drunk. Assume you’re going to be more tired than you think you should be given you’ve sat on your butt writing all day. Yes, you’re not running a marathon, but your brain is, and it’s very much capable of being sleepy.
    Pro tip: if you know exhaustion is a trigger for your anxiety or other mental health issues, go into a challenge aware of that, and aware of how you’re gonna deal with it. For me, that means a day off tomorrow to recover, before jumping back into the real world again.
  • Comfort is your friend. Seriously.
    Pro tip: comfortable clothes, no shoes if that works best for you- this is not the time to pretty yourself in the clothes you can’t slouch or flail in. While you probably can’t wear your pjs if you’re working at a library, wear the most comfy gear you can get away with in the place you’re working in.
  • Your brain is way more brilliant than you think it is.

 

That’s it. We’ve done it. 40,064 words in 3 days. My brain is done. Goodnight everybody.

Machine (An overtired, brain-fried PSA)

You’re a machine!

I’ve heard that a lot the past few days, accompanied by laughter and more than a few rounds of you’re crazy and all its variations. Welcome to  life at The Rabbit Hole, the Queensland Writers Centre‘s yearly in-person and online writing challenge

The goal is to write 30k words in 3 days. At least, that’s the on paper idea. The reality is that it’s a chance to sit your butt down in a quiet room and spend three whole days writing as much as you can. At the end of day 2, not including this post, I’ve written just shy of 24,500 words- 12k and change each day. As long as I hit 6k tomorrow, I’ve managed it. Of course I’m trying for another 12k. I like frying my brain challenging myself.

Yes, I’m weird. That ‘crazy’ accusation might well have a point.

This scenario is my happy place. It’s a chance to write somewhere quiet, where the distractions are minimised. And my competitive anxiety brain hears the frantic typing of others and tries to keep up a similar momentum- pushing me to keep writing, to find ways around problems instead of stopping and thinking about it and finding something else to do to avoid figuring out a solution.

Having said that, I have a love/hate relationship with The Rabbit Hole. I love that I’ve made one of my favourite writing buddies through the RH. I love the way it makes me hyper productive. I hate the way it makes me hyper aware of how my productivity impacts other people. At the end of every day, in among the cries of ‘machine’, there’s generally at least a few ‘oh, I only managed x number of words’. Like writing 2-6k in a day is something to be ashamed of- like my achievement invalidates the achievements of those around me.

Which, lets be honest here, sucks the maggoty balls of dead donkeys in a heatwave.

It’s one thing when my friends say it, because it’s generally not going to have a chaser of self-flagellation. There’s not a thing wrong with it when there’s not a chorus of ‘I can’t write that much, and therefore I suck’. The truth is, there’s no one way to write, and however you’re doing it, you’re not doing it wrong. Whatever works for you, works for you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.

The numbers are great and all, but they don’t take into account the reality of life. Everyone has their own stuff happening- when your world is falling to hell around you, getting ten words down is as hard if not harder than it can be to hit 10k plus in a day when everything is going perfectly and you have nothing but time. Being able to write a heap in a day doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme beyond an ability to withstand thumb cramps.

I’ve spoken to two of my fave writers this weekend, and both Sam and Peter said the same thing: they manage about 2k a day, and a lot of those get deleted. While the idea of pushing myself this hard is my idea of fun, it’s certainly not their idea of a good time. They know what works for them, and they go with it. This year I’m trying for 2k a day, every day, but from time to time I gambol about like a hyperactive bunny, and see what happens, because that’s my weird idea of fun.

They’re published. I’m not. There’s clearly more to it than the ability to churn out words on demand.

So here’s some homework for anyone who wants it: the next time you hear someone say they’ve hit a target that seems light years away from what you can reach, look at how you react.

Do you shrug, celebrate with them, and move on? Or do you use that random target as evidence that you’re not good enough? Do you judge yourself for not measuring up against someone else’s goals, dreams, or targets? Because that’s the emotional equivalent of finding someone to kick you in the crotch at random intervals and wondering why you’re in pain. It doesn’t help you do anything productive, except maybe keep some medical types employed. It doesn’t make you better or more successful, it just makes it harder to get where you want to be. You deserve to reach your goals- so why put another obstacle in your way? And you also really don’t need to downplay your achievements to let other people feel better about theirs. It’s not a competition. Not really.

Lemme tell you a secret: I love seeing what goals everyone reaches at RH. Not so I can feel superior about the results, but because honestly? It’s really cool to be able to see what people can do when they push themselves. I love cheering people on and celebrating their achievements. When people put down their efforts, it breaks my heart. It’s not my job to make people feel bad- it’s my job to celebrate them. Life is so much better when you’re celebrating, and reminding people how great they are.

And here’s some homework for those of us on the other side of this: when you acknowledge you’ve kicked an awesome goal, and people use it as a stick to beat themselves with, how do you react? Do you feel bad? Guilty? Do you feel like you shouldn’t publicly celebrate the kick-ass things you do in case it makes other people feel bad?

Because you should celebrate. You’re allowed to- it’s actually really important to celebrate your achievements. It’s not your job to dull your light, and your pride in your achievements, in case it hurts someone else.

And on that note, I’m gonna go crawl into bed.