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2015: The Year of Giving Up

I have only one resolution/goal/commitment/whatever for the coming year:

I give up.

Motivation, goals, aspirations, and plans are not what I lack. Alas, I also have no lack of worthless reactions and preoccupations that distract and derail me. So rather than focus on all the things I want to accomplish (Oh, that list is long and varied!), I will instead strive to rid myself of those things that get in my way.

... and after writing and deleting and re-writing a list, I realize there are only two things I must truly give up:

1) I must give up the belief others will understand if given enough information.

2) I must give up caring about the opinion of those who cannot or will not understand.

And after I give those things on, I must move on and embrace those who already understand.

This applies to my writing. This applies to my teaching. This applies to my event speaking and workshop coordination. It means I'll take more chances -- big and small -- and just smile and nod at those who urge me to stay on the safe side. It means I'll talk less with most folks who wish I'd just settle in to something simple, and talk more with the few folks who share my determination, aspiration, and outlook.

It wasn't until the time came to move fully from mostly-at-home mother back into the professional realm that I realized just how limited others' opinions of me were. I've seen it pop up now and then, and have even found it amusing on occasion. (I admit to more than one incident of name-dropping just to see someone stammer.) But it wasn't until the last year, when I moved farther outside the microcosm of in-person contacts I've known for some time, that I realized how much I was permitting those limits to affect my professional opportunities.

I've wasted months trying to make that change, hoping if I could just show/tell/explain something, those folks brushing me off with kindly words would stop. Instead, it's been draining my time, my energy, and my confidence.

Surprise! I don't need them change. I need to move on.

I started the process around the middle of the last year, when I stopped seeing wellness coaching clients and teaching wellness workshops locally. This angered many people who say, with a straight face, I should provide those "services" for free or low cost because people need them. Hey, I'd be happy to do it if the power company and the gas station would accept "But I did a nice thing!" as payment. And frankly, the majority of people asking me to do those things for free make more money than I do.

So now I need to apply the principles to all other parts of life. In 2015, I will strive to waste less time on seeking understanding (in other words, support and approval for the sake of my ego), and invest that time instead in making my life happen. The more baggage I set down, the stronger I am as I create my future.

I already have a little start. "Come for a visit!" says a friend out west. "I have people who want to talk business with you."

Giving up is the best thing I've done in awhile.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Jan. 4th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC)
That takes a whole lot of courage, Blair! Congratulations on your decision.

There are always people who simply don't want to understand and it is so frustrating dealing with them.

I'm glad you've freed yourself from them and their opinions. You are such a remarkable woman on many, many counts, and you deserve the very best out of life and to be a success at everything you do!!!

Wishing you the most magnificent and prosperous 2015!!!
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 12:35 am (UTC)
We're going to assume I'll keep giving these things up in the months ahead. :) Some of the folks I'm essentially giving up on are people I've known for a decade. But they met me as a Mom who, as far as they knew, only did a little work on the side. They cannot seem to see me as a potentially successful person.

(Which is tiresome in itself, considering the things they *do* know I've done in the last five years...)

I've let myself be stuck in feeling hurt and betrayed and insulted. I'm so done with that. :)

And I wish for YOU to have the success you deserve. Your goal of balancing your life/work needs are brave, too!
queenoftheskies
Jan. 5th, 2015 12:44 am (UTC)
Persevering is the hardest part of any life change, so I wish you luck in it. However, even if you continue to persevere, I bet it takes longer to get over the feelings of hurt and betrayal and of having been insulted. The longer we know people, the more deeply it seems to hurt.

Do they all know of your writing successes?

Thank you. They are most difficult to achieve, but I had a huge scare on Christmas, so...necessary.
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 01:17 am (UTC)
You're right; the feelings will hang around for a long time. I need to act despite the feelings.

They do know about the writing, but can't see why I keep doing it if I don't make a living at it.

It's very much a non-entrepreneurial attitude. The same attitude that wonders aloud why I run my own wellness workshops. After all, the attitude goes, were I any good at it, I'd be working for a real company. *eye roll*

And I am so sorry for the Christmas scare. :( May it become a positive reason to move forward!
queenoftheskies
Jan. 5th, 2015 02:28 am (UTC)
The same attitude that wonders aloud why I run my own wellness workshops. After all, the attitude goes, were I any good at it, I'd be working for a real company. *eye roll*

Ooooh, I hate that attitude so much! I'm so sorry you've had to endure idiots.
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 03:01 am (UTC)
It's been an eye-opening few years, that's for sure. One of my take-away lessons from living in the town is how the predominant social structure and expectations keep people in their socio-economic box. It's surprisingly and disturbingly easy to prevent a person from looking at the horizon.
queenoftheskies
Jan. 5th, 2015 03:06 am (UTC)
This is very true.

I hope 2015 is the best ever for you!
haikujaguar
Jan. 4th, 2015 11:42 pm (UTC)
I feel this way strongly (God forgive me) about the outrage about the 'old white male dominance' of SF/F, because it's the 'old white male dominance' of trad-published SF/F, and I can't understand why people would continue to give them relevance by paying attention to them. They don't need old white men anymore to get published, make money, find readers. So why do they keep going back to the clubhouse and demanding acknowledgment? Their desire to break down the doors makes it look like the club is the only venue in town, and it's not.

They're fighting a fight that feels unnecessary to me. Success is wide open in the writing field! Why are we still demanding legitimacy from people and establishments that have no power to stop us?

I don't get it. :P
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 01:11 am (UTC)
Today I read comments on an article on publishing from 2011. One commenter mentioned self-publishing as the swiftest and fast-gaining-ground way to expand diversity without waiting for agents and editors to open the gates. The responses against self-publishing all stated that would be caving in, that the only way to address diversity was to do it through "mainstream" publishers. One person used the phrase, "Don't ghettoize yourself."

Now... certainly the market looked different three years ago, but the mindset among some today is still stuck there: Unless it's approved by the Big 5, diverse writers and their works don't count.

The realization of how insulting that mindset is, along with some trade-published numbers I saw the other day, has helped me reduce the size of the chip on my shoulder. There are folks who will never, ever see the collective progress of individuals as worthy as the singular determination of a Named Company.

haikujaguar
Jan. 5th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
I am mostly trying to understand why people are fixating on storming the bastions of the existing industry. I'm pretty sure there are good reasons, but I can't see them, and the ones my training suggests--a desire for legitimacy from the establishment; fear of the unknown--while forming at least part of some people's motivations, can't be everyone's. I hope, anyway. I am sympathetic to people's desire not to have to grapple with the indie-publishing learning curve, but on the other hand, if it's a way to get what you need without forcing other people to give it to you, why wouldn't you jump for it?

I really am missing something.

I admit it's easier to have less of a chip on my shoulder now that I'm making fairly good money. -_-
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 03:10 am (UTC)
I think there is an element of wanting to see change happen -- especially among those writers who have a many-year history of having no choice but to deal with the Only Game In Town.

That I can relate to on some level; I've never had a child in a public school, but I still advocate for changes within the system. Even so, I didn't put my kid in a substandard school because, well, children don't stop growing up while schools debate policy.

So I guess I see both sides of that one...? Sure, fight the good fight, but don't submit to the system at the same time. Does that make sense?

And you've really hit your stride, it seems, with sales lately. Congratulations!! :)
sartorias
Jan. 5th, 2015 12:04 am (UTC)
Excellent goal!
blairmacg
Jan. 5th, 2015 01:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! Here's hoping I can keep it going!

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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