A student reached out to me this week because she felt lost, in all the ways one feels lost when she is unsupported and insecure about her path and hasn’t found her tribe yet. In other words, any writer at any given moment.
I don’t take cries for help lightly. I think it’s a ridiculously brave thing to reach out to someone you admire and ask for help. And in most cases, I’ve found people are really just looking for kindness.
Luckily, I can totally do that! Yes I’m a neurotic terrified human who has trouble pausing, which makes it harder. But hey! You don’t have to be perfect to be kind!
I DO wish I was better at being kind to myself, though. I give that advice a lot but I don’t always take it.
Maybe it comes with practice.
(I never played flute. I played clarinet. For like five seconds. I got kicked out of band. I kept squeaking my reed because I wanted to play LOUDER.)
(WHY IS BEING A PERSON SO DIFFICULT? Discuss.)
Here’s my response to her, at any rate. Hopefully it makes sense out of context:
“Well surviving rejection is good training, even when it hits you in a supposedly safe space. It’s one of the hazards of the job. You will always ALWAYS get more rejection then you will get reinforcement. Knowing this doesn’t make it hurt any less. But it’s the most true thing I can tell you. Confidence comes from doing it over and over again in spite of that. When you survive another, and another, and another, you know that it doesn’t kill you. So you keep going. As the saying goes.
“One of the kindest things you can do for yourself as soon as possible is find your tribe. Find the people who make you feel good about your work, who understand it, who you feel safe with, who will be there when the worst of your fears about yourself are somehow confirmed. You’re not there right now. It’s OK. Keep reading the women you respect. Keep the balance in your life tipped toward those who enrich you, not those who zap you. Look for opportunities. If you don’t see them, make them. More nourishment. More voices.”
PS speaking of tribes… here’s mine ♥️♥️♥️: