Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Self-Esteem

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. ~ Joan Didion

I was thinking, the other day (I KNOW... danger, Will Robinson, DANGER) about the fact I haven't received fan mail on my simply stupendous writing (LOL, and I'm humble, too) and wondered what would happen when I finally have A NOVEL out and, of course, imagined piles of emails and letters coming in, praising me on my masterpiece.

Then I popped over to Jenny Crusie's blog, where she posted a bit of mail that had been written to a fellow author, and then defended herself against the angry responses to that. And I recall reading a post at Tess Gerritsen's blog (which has since been removed because Tess didn't want to give any publicity to an angry reader) that was all nasty spewing.

And I decided if that was the kind of mail I'd get, I'd rather have none, thank you. I'd forgo the thousands of positive messages to miss just one nasty one, because -- those are the ones that seem to matter. Why is that? Why can we be called beautiful or wonderful or smart or amazing millions of times, and disregard all of that when one person says we're ugly or stupid or worthless?

We were at the grocery store the other day, and the lady bagging the groceries told my DD she was beautiful. DD stammered a thank you and we finished and headed out to the car. And, along the way, she told me she didn't think she was in the least bit pretty.


Though I am surely biased, I think she's lovely. And smart. And funny. And upbeat. And I try to tell her this on a regular basis. But there are things that work against me.

My SIL makes DD take her glasses off for every picture. She has told DD that her eyes are beautiful, and that the glasses make her look unattractive -- oh, maybe not in so many words, but the implication is there.

Comments have also been made, phrases like, "He who indulges, bulges" whenever the DD wants to eat junk food. My in-laws are absolutely freaky about fat. Obsessive. Worried. It is the topic of conversation on a regular basis.

So, DD told me the other day that she thinks she's fat. I can tell her constantly how wonderful and beautiful and amazing she is, but that's not what she's heard. She hears the negative: you're ugly and fat.

And, I think that's true of any of us. It's the reason why, as a (hopefully!) good crit partner, I couch any negatives between positives. To be an effective crit partner, you have to point out the weaknesses, but must also make certain that the author understands that you still love her baby.

Even so, it will be the negative that stands out.

And, isn't that a shame.


I hope to download some pictures I took yesterday and post them later today or tomorrow. When DD checked on Pillar Place: Monarch P2 upon rising, it was incredible. All but two of the butterbabies had hatched and were clinging to their chrysalis's, drying their wings. I tried to get pictures of them all just hanging there.

AND... it ended up only raining part of the day, so by the time they were ready to fly, we were able to take them out and release them! Yay! So... ten more butterbabies are in the world. And they are truly beautiful. We have two more that should hatch this week and then we're done (thank heavens!) for the season.


Thanks to Tori for finding me another quiz!

The Disney Heroine Quiz

You are Jasmine. Princess Jasmine is a girl who only a few special people can get close to. She has a pet tiger named Raja who will obey only her. Jasmine is smart, and fun, and beautiful, according to Aladdin. You have Jasmine's fiery spirit, and you probably have a few close friends as opposed to many acquaintances. You are admirable, for you stand up not only for yourself, but for your beliefs, friends, and whosoever is being picked on. You have a very strong character and you know exactly what you want.
Take this quiz!

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Dru said...

I think negative comments just stings us too much.

That must have been a sight to see all the butterbabies fly away.

I hope you hoave a good Saturday.

Gay said...

I know how you feel. In crits, I think although the negatives sting, sometimes they are the best because ultimately they bring out your best work. I don't always agree with them, but they do cause a lot of soul-searching as to what you're trying to accomplish and questioning as to whether you've done what you set out to do. One of my best crit partners wrote me a letter that sent me for a loop on the latter half of my book... she'd missed the point about halfway through. I was blown away and very upset, because I thought it was my final draft. But after I finished being so upset about it, I reread it... realized the emotional arc had gotten muddy in the middle, made a few minor tweaks, strengthened a few scenes and ended up with something that I feel so much better about and something she's excited about.

I have to tell you, though, that redwoods crashing in the forest don't come down harder than my ego did when I received that letter!

Have a great Saturday.

P.S. My book is now in the hands of the agents/editors that requested it, and I'm trying not to bite my nails to the quick.

Tori Lennox said...

I think your in-laws need a good smack for making any kind of negative comments!

Hey, Jasmine is a great heroine! :)

Brandy said...

Negatice comments prey on our weakest thoughts and fears. My MIL is freakish about weight. She constantly harps that she needs to lose weight and she's a size 8. She's told me repeatedly that I "was so pretty that time you lost all that weight". Uh-huh and I was sick every time I got NEAR a germ. I make sure my kids always know that to be healthy is more important than what size you wear, but I still worry about her influence.
So, like you, I try to balance the negative with the good.

DD has you, she'll learn all about it. *g*

Have a relaxing sunday (as I am late getting around!)

Mel said...

Some people like you to be miserable like them. They don't even notice they are miserable, they just know when they are around you they feel uncomfortable. People like this you cut out of your life like poison. Or limit your contact with them.

I feel for you (I also have a daughter), because now and days you have to instill confidence into your child and build it back up on a daily basis. It's damn hard work, but it needs to be done.