Written by Amanda Hill
I sat at lunch with a group of girlfriends. Crazy beautiful girls who are all talented writers. We went around the table, discussing our latest projects. One girl in particular was stuck, because mean girls exist and online can be cruel. Basically she was feeling trapped within her own impossible standards of being good enough.
We all fall victim to the shiny stupid happy. Family portraits where everyone is wearing shades of blue. New books written by people we know. We are envious and sad. But why? Why do we care so much about how we rank? Because other people are so damn funny when we are just sitting around in our pajamas. How can they always be so wise or witty when we are not? We are just average, slumping around with our half-finished manuscripts writing articles in a gardener’s magazine. Going to work at the insurance company. Brewing average coffee. What losers we are; everyone will tisk-tisk at our averageness.
Now that that’s out of the way, you big fat joy-sucker weirdo, snap out of it.
Write for you. Sing for you. Dream your big crazy nutzo dreams for you. And then be bold about them, because they are beautiful, and unique, and creative. You made them, the words and the strokes on the canvas and the notes that hang in the air. They are yours! The way you string them together is a beautiful thing. I am so proud of you. So extremely proud of you for doing it anyway, even if you don’t have a family portrait shrouded in sea foam or a book deal or a re-tweeted whatever.
And please don’t write with an internal scrub brush because your mother will balk at the F-bomb. If you feel you need to use strong language to make a point, use it. If you feel it cheapens your words, find other words. But speak the truth. About your relationships. About God. About how your kids never eat the black beans even though they need protein and about how you cheated on your diet. Again.
If you want to say out loud that God failed you, and are curious how He’ll make it up to you, say it. God knows what you’re thinking anyway. Get those feelings out in whatever way makes sense. Speak honestly to the creator. Speak honestly to your neighbors. We need such truth in a world cluttered with noise.
But whatever you do, please don’t try to write or sing or dance or talk like someone else because you admire their stuff, or hope to impress them, whoever the ethereal THEM is. And don’t hate on the other people on earth who are doing their best to bring about beauty. Encourage and inspire. Smile and support. Because your heart is more precious than silver, so make what comes out shine.
So take those demons off your shoulder and put them under a basket, the ones who say you can’t and you won’t and you are a downright moronic idiot, to be addressed another day. Then let them starve to death under that basket, shriveling to dust. They don’t own you.
You own you. You wonderful, beautiful you. So wake up tomorrow with a fresh start, with a brain brimming with ideas, with hands ready to tap on the keys like Fred Astaire on a wood floor, with steady hands to draw strong stable lines. Bow your head in thanks for such gifts, such beauty, such forgiveness when we break. Because God sews together our broken parts. And you can go to the Gap to buy a stupid blue sweater.
Sing with your words in whatever form, so that we may all make beautiful music together upon this empty page of life. Do the thing, because it’s worth doing.
Amanda Hill is a writer, speaker, and attorney who lives in Austin, Texas, with her two children. She blogs at http://www.hillpen.com/