I Can Write About Anything and Get Paid For It.
Sometimes, I’m a little slow on the uptake.
Or else, I just hold myself in denial, a denial that is mixed with fear and imposter syndrome that keeps me from writing the stories that are in my mind and heart, screaming to get out of me.
Yeah, it’s definitely the fear.
Fear that people I know will read them and judge me for the things I’ve thought and done in my life.
Fear that my family will find my writing and disown me for not being the person they’ve always thought I am.
Fear that my words will fall on deaf ears after putting so much time and energy into telling the stories that are so hard to tell.
Fear is the number one killer of creativity for me.
But it has to stop, because for some reason, after a year of writing on Medium and steadily doing better and making more money through the Partner Program, it clicked in my head last night.
I can make money here writing whatever I want.
I AM making money here writing whatever I want, and I want to make more.
But that means letting go of the fear and sharing more — the hard things, the scary things, the dirty things.
What do I have to lose?
Respect from my friends and family if they ever find my writing, I guess.
That’s really the only thing I can think of that is holding me back from telling the real stories of my life.
But that begs the question — if my friends and family lose respect for me when they read and learn about the real me, how great were they to begin with?
Can my family handle finding out that I smoked cigarettes for thirteen years before I quit? They would be so mad at me for making such a terrible choice for myself.
Can my friends handle knowing that I had an affair with a married man for a year and a half?
I don’t know, but if they can’t, are they good friends to begin with, if they can’t accept me and love me still, no matter whether they know the sordid details of my past?
Will my friends and family be able to look me in the eye if I start writing about sex and relationships, or would they rather I kept all that to myself?
Should I even care what they think or want from me, or should I do what I want for myself?
I think that people, our friends and family, form an idea of who we are in their heads and then we begin to become resistant to change for fear of losing them.
It certainly would be a change for me if I were honest in my writing about who I actually am and what I’ve done in my life that has gotten me to this point.
People don’t like for us to change, I don’t think.
People would rather we stay consistent and true to who they think we are, and when we grow and change, it threatens them because it makes them realize that maybe they aren’t growing and changing, too.
Or that they have things to be afraid of saying, for fear they’ll lose the same views and respect from their peers.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
The great thing is, I’m not as afraid as I was yesterday.
It just hit me like a bullet late last night that I am squandering a huge opportunity to do exactly what I want in my life — make a living writing — by being afraid of what other people think.
Why should I care about what people think of me?
If they can’t accept me as I truly am, then we shouldn’t be friends in the first place.
I want to be honest.
I want to be authentic.
I want to be unapologetically me.
Those are the things I admire most in other people, and I want to be able to admire myself and have others admire me and hopefully become a little braver in their own lives because they see some scared girl doing something scary.
I want to write a story about everyone I’ve ever dated.
I want to write about all the terrible bosses I’ve had in my life and how they’ve broken bits of me.
I want to write about all the sex I had, back when I was having lots of sex.
I want to write about how I feel about the death penalty, and vaccinations, and Bernie Sanders, and being poor, and penis sizes.
I want to write it all, and not be afraid of the consequences.
So, I tell myself there are no bad consequences to telling my truth.
I want to tell myself that if I lose friends and alienate people, then they didn’t belong in my life in the first place.
I am secure in who I am, I’ve just never been secure in what other people have thought of me, and I need to drop that thought like a bad habit.
I need to stop letting fear hold me back.
Because, dudes, I can get paid to write about whatever I want.
Why wouldn’t I take that chance when I have it right in front of me?
Why would I let other people’s judgment get in the way of fulfilling a dream?