Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Listening to Your Own Voice (by not listening to the other voices)



"You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round." -- James Corbett
(sent in my inspirational quotes email today )

The other day I was looking for one thing, and came upon another—where Tiny Fey and a few other “celebrities” said they tried not to look at blogs because some of them could be hurtful. Here’s what Ms Fey said, "… I want you to really know how lucky I am to have the year I've had this year and, if you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet! You can find a lot of people there who don't like you!”

I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did. Somehow I thought what I considered to be successful people were too busy or too “out there and up there” to worry about what people were writing on blogs and other websites. They caution their children not to look at the blogs so they wouldn’t be hurt—that made me sad. I just didn’t imagine they looked or cared what people said on twitter, blogs, Facebook, "celebrity websites/shows," etc. And especially if they are doing well in their field, loved and/or admired or watched by perhaps millions—so why do they care about those who just are not that into them, or maybe don’t like them at all, or in the worse cases, detest them?

Maybe because human nature is we want people to like us, to love us, especially when we feel we are Genuine. And when we put ourselves out there in such a public way, well, it’s easier to be a target I suppose. People don’t have to look someone in the eye and say horrid things about them, for they can write about it anonymously. It's like being in a dark room and every now and then someone slaps your face--you can't see who they are, but you sure feel the sting. Further, if you are "famous" people expect you to take it, to suck it up, because after all, don't you ask for it if you are a public figure?

We’ve seen where an author writes a book, or a playwright/producer/director/actor has a blockbuster movie, or a singer has a number one hit, and they are loved and admired and put on a pedestal high—then, somewhere along the line they create something that isn’t loved, and suddenly things aren't so hot and maybe they are knocked off their pedestal high to make room for someone else. It’s going to happen, it has happened, it will always happen. Difference is whether you stay on the floor because you don't want to be knocked down again, or you get up and Try Again, even if you never are placed as high on that pedestal as you once were.

We’ve also seen those who remain on the pedestal and still there are those nipping angrily at their heels—it happens. The person on the pedestal may feel the love of thousands, but that one angry, discordant voice that doesn’t like them seems to be the loudest of all—a shame, isn’t it?

So, what keeps artists, writers, singers, entertainers, people in general who are after their dreams, from giving up? (And some do give up . . .). Maybe it’s love, or determination, or stubbornness, or an “I’ll show them!” attitude—maybe all of those and more.

Imagine you go to work each morning and hundreds, thousands, or millions of people scrutinize your work? And, they critique or analyze your work in a public way. Imagine you have a bad day and your work reflects it, and everywhere you look you read about how you are the worst person who ever laid a foot on the planet and your work stinks and you stink and you are ugly and stupid and hate hate diatribe hate. Or, imagine you do beautiful work, but there is always this one little group of people who just don’t like what you do, or who you are, or anything about you.


Public life, in any form—even small tiny corners—is not for sissies. You must coat yourself in armor, you must keep doing what you love even when someone slaps you across the face in the dark (or the light), you plunge ahead; you fight another fight. If you love it you do.

Now, some of you may be thinking I wrote this because I saw something about my work or something personal that upset me—nope, no worries!, I did not and that doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there; I’ve just been busy getting Secret Graces ready for publication and that means my head has been down and plowing. But, I just couldn’t stop thinking about Tina Fey’s comment to those who apparently had nasty things to say, how she told them to “suck it” – made me laugh, but another part of me wondered at how it affected her enough that she had to address them publicly.

Well, maybe they represented every person who’d ever knocked her back as she tried to climb to where she wanted to go because she loves what she does, even when it feels like shit. Maybe she thought of someone in school, or home, or work, or a friend, or lover, or family member, or stranger who'd told her No or You Never Will or . . . . Maybe someone she loved cried over something they read and it made her mad. That's her own to know.

Overnight successes are very rarely overnight. It’s hard work, time-consuming, sometimes all life consuming--sacrifices are made, believe me, they are, sacrifices are made for what you love. It’s sometimes what you hate because the stakes can be so high.

I will keep writing my books and stories and essays. I’ll write them when people love me, and I’ll write them when they don’t. I’ll fight the next fight and the next—because it’s that important to me, it’s what I love, it’s who I am. Even if I am never on a pedestal high.

Will you let someone else define you? Will you let negative voices keep you from what you love? Will you get up, wipe the blood off your nose, and fight again? Say Yes. Say Yes I will. Say yes I will again and again, for as long as I love doing it. What you feel in the privacy of your little corner is important—when you take away all the voices and only hear your own, that will be the Truth of what you want. Take that want in that voice and hear it the loudest, over all the other voices. Find your truth; find your want; and then Go For It.


So what is YOUR voice telling you?


10 comments:

Linda Leschak said...

Such inspiring words! And so true. I think those who are quick to criticize are the ones who hold on to their own insecurities. They want to be the one up there on the pedestal and think that the only way to build themselves up is to tear the other down. I have to admit that I get a little depressed when I read blogs only because of the negative comments that some of them attract. It reminds me of how hateful people can be and that to me, is sad. I want to reach through the computer and slap them (in the dark!)
It's true that we need to keep working toward our own passion regardless of what others might think and to consider the real reason for hateful criticism if we recieve any.
Thanks for posting this!

destrella said...

Great quote. I guess when you get into the "business" there are certain sacrifices you make to earn the big $$$. Best to just be you and not cave to what others want you to be. :O)

Faith Imagined said...

Wow! I have been thinking about this subject a lot lately. Even when a person is not famous there are others who want to knock them down or be discouraging. I am learning to allow God define me and no one else. It is very freeing!

Karen said...

Thought provoking post. Yes, I'm a fighter. But my faith has kept me from hitting the ropes and falling on the mat. Great post!

Debbie said...

I get very upset if I think I have offended someone or if somebody says something negative to me in a comment. Far too upset. I can understand why celebrities would avoid media.

Anita said...

I've got to admit that I'm a rather sensitive person and have time and time again gotten my feelings hurt over what someone said about me. Growing up(and even now to some extent) I was a people pleaser and just couldn't understand why someone wouldn't like me. Now though, I'm learning to build a bit tougher skin and realize that if I want something badly enough, no matter how many times I get knocked down, I can get up again and I WILL succeed.

Terri Tiffany said...

Wonderful post as usual:)) My voice has been telling me to not give up on life, or writing or anything else cause it is worth it! And that I will make it through what I have to. Hey, I'm feeling abit more stronger these days:)

Titus said...

Wonderful post! I suspect I only listen to one critic: myself. Maybe that's easy because I'm not famous!

Sheila Deeth said...

I'll keep writing too, and dreaming that those occasional strangers who read might be encouraged to recommend my books to their friends. Wishing you well with your writing and thanking you for an encouraging article. (And yes, the voice in my head usually imitates the people who say I'm not good enough, but at least it's not loud enough yet to make me stop.)

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