Thursday, February 3, 2011

Confidence & Getting Back Up After a Beat-Down

Awhile ago, I heard there was a study ranking US children against the rest of the world, and while the US kids were ranked twenty-something in math skills, they were ranked 1st in confidence! I thought, yep, that sounds about right. All the self-esteem programs and positive posters and praise really did sink in with my generation, maybe too much, some people have a sense of entitlement that's frustrating. I think Stephen Colbert epitomizes this ridiculous American swagger perfectly, but with the sarcastic self-referential understanding that it's parody. Probably why I love him so much :)

But back to confidence! I was NOT a confident kid growing up. I was shy, a total people pleaser, door-mat, etc. It wasn't until my mid-20's that I caught up on the confidence train. In part, I think that's what the pink hair and tattoos are about--I didn't have to hide my personality anymore, be the quiet, good, religious girl. I could be loudly, visually me. I started to trust my abilities and talents more, to try things I wouldn't have attempted before.

And as I get to know other artist types, I see a lot of self-doubt, self-deprecating comments, and unsureness. Don't get me wrong, I think humility and honesty are always hugely important! And maybe it's just because rejection and failure are such a big part of trying to make it as an artist/writer. But really, the fact that we keep on trying, get knocked out and get back up again, face EPIC FAILURE and then manage to write another novel and try the querying/submission process all over again, speaks to the fact that at some level, we BELIEVE we can really do this. You have to have some degree of ego to keep trying, you have to believe there's a possibility, however small, that you CAN be successful. And when you've put in the hard work, the years of trying, and the crazy of crazies happen and you get some success, enjoy it, don't question your right to be there! Yes, it was most likely a lot of lucky confluences of events that brought success (and that's where the humility is key), but it was also a crap-load of hard work, and if someone was going to make it, why shouldn't it be you!

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