Thursday, August 26, 2010

Confident vs. Confused

The last few weeks have been interesting. I have had a series of compliments about my appearance. Last week, as I was out walking my dog, a guy in a truck drove past and almost hit a trashcan while staring at me. I gave myself a quick check to make sure that there was nothing exposed that shouldn't have been, but I appeared to be fully clothed. This was both confidence-inspiring and confusing. I, like many women, am not a huge fan of my body. I consider myself to be slightly on the pretty side of average, as far as appearances go, but I can rattle off a list of things that I don't like about the way I look. When I get compliments, it's out-of-place with the way I look at myself.

I feel the same way about my writing as I do about my body. I'm on the good side of average. I can write a story that has a coherent plot, my grammar and spelling rock (thanks, Dad!), and I feel that I can keep a reader's interest, at least for a little while. Every once in a while, though, I'll share my work with someone and get a really nice comment. For example, my friend Cavid (not his real name) read and line-edited a story that I was submitting, and told me that he thought my voice was very similar to Neil Gaiman. This was AWESOME! At the same time, it was confusing and scary. Do I really sound like someone who is so insanely popular and talented? Is this a good thing? (I was assured that it is a good thing.) It just doesn't fit with the way I look at my writing.

What's the moral of this post? You know, I'm really not sure. Maybe I need to re-examine the way I look at myself, both as a person and a writer. Or maybe the world's standards are just dropping. (See? I can't manage to squash that inner critic!)


Anonymous said...

Self-confidence is not an easy thing to learn, since it is practically beaten out of us as children - Don't brag, Pride is a sin, Don't be cocky/arrogant, etc. We are told we can't possibly compare with the current standard of beauty, and yet expected to try. It is frowned upon to be too smart, too capable, too MUCH of anything, because of how it might make other people feel.

I won't pump sunshine up your ass and tell you you're pretty, because you know you are - you just want validation that it is okay to BE so. It is. It is also okay to accept compliments on your writing. Being pretty and good at stuff is generally considered positive ... so say a high hearty "eff-yoo" to the establishment that tells you to be less, and flaunt your More.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

It's a tough balance to have confidence about your talents and not feel like your head is too huge. I struggle with this every day and it never seems to get any easier. I either feel like a total failure or full of awesome. I'd like a good in between. Hope you can find it, too!

FranchiseSaysSo said...

I can relate as well. So far, I've received pretty good feedback on my film critiques but every once in a while I'll get that "it could of been better" or "you gave away too much of the plot" reply and it brings me right back down to Earth.

As a person, when I receive compliments about my personality or the way I look, I always find it extremely difficult to believe them. So, hold strong and just believe what you see in yourself and what your closest family and friends have to say. Those are the only opinions that really matter. Keep up the good work. I only hope my literary pieces turn out as good as yours.