Guess what? I’ve written a book. It’s 128,932 words long, it took four years to write (four long years of backache, breakdowns and bawling on Sunny’s shoulder), it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever written and I’ve got two agents who are kind of interested.
…But, I don’t like to talk about it. In fact, I hate talking about it. I won’t talk about it.
When someone asks, I clam up. I get embarrassed and then do everything in my power to swiftly change the subject, like, “Uh yeah, but it’s nothing, it’s early days, it’s not published or anything… But hey! Are you watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend/Nashville/Vikings? You should, you totally should!” The truth is that I’m so damn terrified of the other person thinking that I’m braggy or arrogant that I won’t ever talk about this massive part of who I am; something that’s probably by far my greatest ever achievement.
And it’s not just the book; I’m constantly selling myself short in all areas of my life. I’ll bake something that took hours, but when someone says it tastes good? “Meh. It’s okay… it’s a bit too sweet/burnt/dense really.” On days where my winged eyeliner looks almost even (it’s never actually even, I mean come on) and I’ve managed to wrestle down those wisps of hair that always stick up, if someone throws a compliment my way, my first response is usually, “…Really?”
I’m still weird about taking pictures of myself because, ugh, awkward, bum-chin and big nose. I won’t post outfit shots in my weirdest shirt because – despite what I might think – heaven forbid someone out there thinks I’m being vain or self-centered. And yeah that picture I took is nice, but y’know I can’t take credit, the camera did most of the work.
Growing up we’re told not to brag, not to be big-headed or cocky in case we offend someone with our own unique brand of awesome. But there’s a cost to that. The danger is that we become humble to the extreme, to our detriment. Not self-deprecating, but self-sabotaging. We become blunter, duller versions of ourselves to please others, and instead of roaring our talents from the rooftops, we whisper them. As if they’re a secret that’s too much to share with the world.
Turning the volume down on your talents just in case a complete stranger or otherwise gets offended or thinks badly of you is stupid. If they don’t like your noise, that’s their problem, not yours. It’s not about becoming big-headed, it’s about accepting and acknowledging those times when you nailed it and giving yourself credit.
It’s Valentines Day tomorrow, and instead of buying into the mush (…Sunny and I don’t really celebrate beyond a card each) I’m using it as a day where I promise to stop selling myself short from now on. Next time someone asks about my book, I’ll tell them about it. I worked
fucking hard on it and should be proud. I might even get up the courage to post a selfie, bum chin and all. And yeah, I did bake that cake and you know what? It’s pretty damn good. 🙂