Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writing Insecurities

I woke up this morning thinking about lots of things. The weird dream I vaguely remembered, a butch/femme photo shoot project I'm slowly trying to dream up, books I've been reading and of course doing some writing. Specific to writing, a blog post or working on that essay book I keep talking about. The book where I talk about growing up as me, a "masculine of center" woman or, as I have labeled myself for the past couple of years, a butch woman. After deciding to write a blog post I began writing about the books I've been reading on butch women.

A lot of books I've been interested in lately are on the subject of the butch/femme dynamic and the history of "my people", as I lovingly refer to them. The lessons that I've taken from these books are many. The biggest one being the fact that I have and am a part of a rich history of strong woman. Woman who have fought to be who they truly are in this world. Women who would rather die fighting with their heads held high then walk around on this planet defeated and broken, living as society believes they should. The pride I feel from knowing this history is immense. It's too big for mere words to capture.

Therein lies my dilemma. Not only has it been difficult for me to capture in words those feelings I feel about all of this rich history I am learning about and embracing, it's also been difficult for me to fully capture any feelings in words. Let alone post any of those words in a public space for all the world to see. So my writing has been infrequent and mostly kept to journaling.

What I've recently discovered, again (because it seems to come and go depending on what's happening in other parts of my life), while reading these books and a few blogs is my inner critic. She's a major pain in the ass, to be blunt. She likes to stop me from doing anything that I really love. She'll sit back in the corners of my thoughts and taunt and tease me while I'm reading these books and blogs. "You're writing will never be as good as this author's. You're not even half as smart as she is. Why do you even try?" She'll go on and on and on until I stop doing anything that brings me joy. She knows how to push my "not good enough" button and she'll do it until I'm a weeping pile of darkness and despair if I let her.

The only way to shut her up is to sit down and write.

And write.

And write.

Then write some more.

So, this morning I attempted to and there she was again. Not wanting to completely give in to her, I took a break and did some chores around the house. Then I sat down and tried again. There she was in all her little pent up bully-ness. This time I got up and went out to the garden to weed and fertilize the vegetables. While outside in the dirt it occurred to me that I was trying too hard to write about something I haven't quite wrapped my brain around.  "Write about what's happening in your head right now."

So, here I am. Revealing my insecurities around my own writing right here on my blog for all the world to see. No, it's not a call for comments or pep talks. It just is what it is.

At the moment, the insecurities are exacerbated by the fact that tomorrow night I will be reading my story from Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica in front of a lot of my friends and a lot of strangers. Normally, I'm totally fine with public speaking. Hell, I've been standing up in front of strangers and telling my very personal story since I was a teenager. My introduction to public speaking involved telling my story of growing up in an alcohol and drug addicted household while involved in Alateen. That's pretty damn intimate.

It's just that this story, First Ride, is an entirely different kind of intimate. It's the ultimate in vulnerability. It's sex and lust and fantasy and it all came from my most intimate thoughts. I am proud of it, don't get me wrong, but I'm simply embarrassed to read it out loud in front of all of those people. I would rather they read it in the privacy of their own thoughts and let me know what they thought of it.

But, that's not the way this works. When you write a story and it gets published, there's a chance someone will want you to read it aloud. I get it. It adds something to it when the author reads it. It's good for promotion. So, tomorrow night I will walk into that space and show nothing but confidence. When I am introduced, I will stand up tall and walk with confidence to the front of the room. Then I'll read my story with pride while doing my best to hide the terribly insecure writer inside. With any luck, I'll keep the redness in my face to a minimum.

Wish me luck.


  1. Oh! You wrote that! I love that story!

    I was a reviewer for the book and attended the Boston reading and I had a blast!

    The crowd for these is UBER FRIENDLY AND SUPPORTIVE. It's us! Not some random bookstore crowd. They're gonna love you.

    1. I did! Thanks!

      Awesome! Even less to worry about! (; Thank you!

  2. I thought you just did a great job describing a few of your feelings, anyway :) I have the same insecurities and feelings. I started blogging a few years back, hoping it would help me as far as conquering the writer's block. I wrote many years ago... a LOT. People loved it. Now... nothing except my blog, and the boring day to day. I guess it's boring. Sometimes, there's a lesson, a deep thought, but usually by the time I make it back here, it loses much of it's emotion... it's frustrating.
    Good luck tomorrow!! How exciting!! I can't wait to see what you do with your butch/femme study. Since my own self discovery, I've worked hard crossing the lines of both, refusing to be stereo-typed into one or the other. It was fun ;) Now I'm just me... not butch, not femme, just me! :)

    1. I have that same problem of trying to hold onto the thoughts or lessons until I can get back here to explore them more. It's incredibly frustrating!

      Thank you! I can't wait to see what I do with the photo project, too! I've had a lot of thoughts about it but nothing that's completely come together just yet so I'm letting it stew some more, so to speak. Being "just you" is just perfect! (:

  3. I have my bully/inner-critic to thank for:
    - any cleaning that gets done in my apartment
    - organizing and re-organizing any given set of objects
    - purging my make-up drawer(s)
    - brushing my teeth at random intervals (so, oral hygiene)
    - spontaneous trips to Wal-mart for things I "need"
    - new art projects
    - a week's worth of freshed-baked cookies/brownies/cupcakes/etc.
    - better poems, when I am able to eek them out

    I do NOT have my bully/inner-critic to thank for:
    - any prolific level of productivity toward my writing portfolio whatsoever.

    1. They're helpful in some ways but not so much in others.

  4. Here is something about the inner critic: She speaks because there's something to speak about. But here's the thing: your writing isn't supposed to be like anyone elses. It's supposed to be uniquely yours: your voice, your tone, your story. So when she speaks up and says your's can't compare, tell her this: it's not supposed to.

    And congrats on your story and your reading. I'm sure you kicked ass.

    1. Excellent point.

      Thank you! I haven't read yet but I'm sure I'll be writing about it afterwards.

  5. Relax and have fun with it. You will do great!

  6. You know that advice, "Picture them in their underwear"? It's supposed to help when you're faced with public speaking. It never does help, in my case, but I just thought of something...

    Since most everyone knows that advice, how about at the beginning of your reading, you announce to everyone, "I'm picturing you all in your underwear," then pointedly look at random people throughout the audience. I suspect (hope) that you would get a laugh out of the group, and with the looks you give, you might even make a few of them blush - turn the tables. Just before you read, you could say, "There, now we're all blushing."

    I don't know. I daydream things sometimes. If I were in your position, this is one of the solution scenarios that I would ponder. Don't know if I would actually do it, but I offer it to you.

    1. That's pretty frickin' awesome. Not sure that I'll have the guts to do it but I'm going to definitely keep that in mind.

  7. And you were great. Read your story, didn't rush it, did it with just the right emphasis and timing. You were great.

    I think you're on to something with writing out your insecurities. Insecurities are like a lot of other demons, they thrive in the darkness. They thrive when we don't speak them out loud, don't air out the dark corners they live in. I've noticed that when I write about things I'm frustrated about, scared of, insecure about -- it gets easier to deal with them, and you give the people who care about you a chance to speak out against your fears and anxieties.

    You're a great writer, Wendi. Keep doing what you do.

    1. Thanks, Kyle. I hear you on getting the demons out of the dark. Often times I'll write about things that get to me and as soon as I see them on paper they suddenly seem not so powerful. Sometimes even a bit ridiculous.

      Back atchya, too. Keep doing what you do. Thanks, again, for making the trip down to the Portland reading.