I don’t know why exactly, but I love to read the bad reviews,
The rude ones are the best, that really dig in nails
The ones you know are likely to be hurtful
But also sort of funny when you’re not
Receiving words so barbed they’ll tear up skin.
Now, I promise I’m not intentionally horrible. And I’m the kind of person who struggles to give any book a rating less than three stars on Goodreads, just in case the writer reads it and it hurts their feelings.
However, I do sometimes find myself filtering out the one star reviews for absolutely anything and almost luxuriating in the negativity at that end of the spectrum.
Some of those are scathing and some are bloody hilarious, especially when it’s something you were thinking in your head anyway. I particularly enjoy this activity when there is a book that everyone seems to love and you have to keep it on the down low that you thought it was bloody awful.
I don’t condone writing bad things about people on the internet, but I do apparently condone spending several hours reading said comments. Come on, we all have to have some sort of a dark side.
I’ve started writing bits and pieces for young adult readers because I have spent so much time around this age group. And I see that most of them are on the cusp of understanding the world a little more. Some of them have already started to see it through adult eyes.
I think that literature is a way to soften the blow. If they can read about these things through the eyes of characters that they fall in love with, then they can have a little taste of it without getting the full whack.
I’ve had three kids in my tutors groups this year who have lost parents in the last 12 months and that must be horrific for a twelve year old to go through. I have seen the deep pain that causes and it actually scares me as an adult. I’m not suggesting that a book could take away that pain, but perhaps they can help kids through those difficult moments.
I’ve read some amazing stuff recently and it brought to mind a quote that I saw somewhere on the internet. I do find myself just having to stop for a while and just reflect.
It’s an amazing thing, and I should feel so lucky and blessed that I can read something that has such a profound effect on me. But the problem is that all I seem to feel is jealousy. I hate the person who wrote something so amazing; something that I know I’d never be talented enough to write.
All I can think about is my own stunted language that sits in my latest Google Doc. It’s like lumpy custard that I feel like everyone is turning their nose up at. Meanwhile, everyone is salivating over the custard from M&S that has all of those lovely little vanilla flecks in it. And the fact that I’m using custard as a metaphor for my writing is rather telling.
One day I’ll have something that I’ve produced that will be silky and sweet. But for now, I’ll just enjoy what other people are producing in spades and keep working at what I love. I’ll get there one day. After all, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
And the sound of the clock that can pierce the silence
Of the room that I have come to loathe.
The Reading Room where work is judged
And never favourably, may I add.
I tentatively sent a few poems out to some literary magazines yesterday, something that I have never done before. And mostly because I’m scared.
I do write on here and I have a little Twitter and Instagram account but that’s not really judged. That’s just me pretending to be a writer. This is actually going to be looked at by people who do this as their business and that scares the crap out of me.
But come what may, I do need to start getting more confident in my work and in myself as a person. I worry so much about what people think and I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I was worried that somebody was going to laugh at my efforts.
And what makes it even more sad is the fact that I truly believe that art is subjective. What one person hates, another loves. So why should I care if one editor hates what I do? I sometimes need to listen to my own advice and just take a leap of faith.
If you have something that you’ve been frightened of doing because you’re worried about other people’s judgements, maybe now is the time to take some steps toward doing it anyway.
I did the Enneagram test yesterday and I came out as a Type 6. On reading through the description of this personality type I found that it was scarily close to me.
The type 6 is known to be very worried about anything and everything and they are always on the lookout for perceived risks and problems. If a type 6 gets too stressed they can start to become paranoid and think that they are the problem. This pretty much describes what I have gone through in the last couple of weeks!
Anyway, reading about my own personality type got me thinking about how I deal with failures and big problems. And in all honesty, I have to admit that I tend to just drop the ball and run (mainly out of fear).
I’ve realised that my personality type is known for not having much faith in themselves, they always reach outwards to anything from bosses to spouses to religion. So I’ve realised that in order to strengthen myself I need to have a bit more faith in my own decisions and intuition.
When things go wrong I need to stop running away and maybe find a different way. This sounds so basic and obvious, but when I’m in my reactive mode it’s really hard to override my flight response.
If you’re like me, next time there’s a problem take a moment before you react. Think where you could end up if you actually stick around and try again. I think of all of the opportunities I must have missed because I’ve given up when I feel like I’ve messed things up too much.
The real mistake is the giving up, so give it another go. Try doing it in a different way. The world isn’t caving in because we have done something badly. Us type 6 people can be so reliable and positive and loving if we can just overcome these crushing feelings.
PS. I highly recommend having a go at the Enneagram test that I used, here. It gives you a good insight into where you can help yourself.
Also, if you are really struggling self help book are not going to cut it. Get to your GP or call the Samaritans. The website I used actually said that unhealthy type 6 people are at a high risk of alcohol and drug abuse. Don’t go down this path because it’s a pretty dark one but I can understand how it happens!
I feel like I’ve reached a point of burn out and I know that I am the only person to blame. I have been signed off work this week because I just buckled under the pressure. However, looking back, I have done all the overtime that has been pushed my way and I haven’t had a holiday since August. I didn’t even realise this and it’s just all caught up with me.
I actually feel a bit stupid now because I can see exactly why I’ve ended up in the situation that I have. I wish that I had asked for help and maybe said ‘no’ to the odd bit of overtime.
For now, I feel a little bit like I’m stranded out there in a rowing boat. I desperately want to get back to the shore but I’ve completely run out of energy and the tide is against me.
If you can feel yourself slipping, do ask for help, even if it’s just a day or two off. I think that most managers would be happier with you if you did that rather than need weeks off to nurse yourself back to health.
Burnout is a really horrible thing to go through because it’s so preventable and you feel so helpless. I hope that you are all staying strong while we are powering through these horrible winter months. Don’t push too hard and make sure to give yourself a little bit of TLC every now and then.
The curse of no boundaries isn’t fixed by such notions.
A kiss or a pill or a magical potion
Won’t help her to grow a skin that is thick.
The rope that you throw her
Will find its way round her beautiful neck,
Because this dear damsel is really just sick.
I’ve pushed it too far and now I am suffering. I know that I’ have trouble saying no because I think that people will hate me if I do. I think it comes from my days as a child where I was told by my mother that if I didn’t live up to expectations then she would stop talking to me. When I was a teenager she once stopped talking to me for a month. I had blocked a lot of these memories out but during therapy I was told that this is neglect and is most definitely behind some of my weird behaviours as an adult.
This week I said yes to overtime when I knew that it was too much and now I have crumbled and let everyone down. It’s a familiar cycle that I want to break and I feel a bit pathetic in not being able to do so. I have turned off my phone so that the world can’t reach me and all I want to do is hide in my flat.
I empathise with you if you are struggling to say no. Don’t be an idiot like me because now I’m in a bit of hot water. Look after yourself and set boundaries that will protect you from going through this. It’s something that I’m going to have to work on, but at least I have an awareness now. I just have to grow a pair and do the painful bit of the process.
Love and light,
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