Comfort and Joy

This post originally started as part of the A-Z Challenge, but unfortunately, I had to pull out of that for health reasons. Sounds funny, I know, but each post still had about a quarter of work left, and this pneumonia has me wiped out. I simply don’t have the energy for it. I’ll keep my theme and posts…it will be cutting it close, but I figure a year will give me enough time to finish.

Since April’s IWSG Day fell on the letter C, I had written up this little piece for my offering.

Historiated C

omfort

As human beings, we like to be comfortable. We seek it. We like to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We crave foods that make us feel better and call them comfort foods. We prefer shoes that don’t pinch, beds that are just right, and money to pay the bills. As comfortable as our individual situations allow is what we strive for each day.

But what happens when you’re not even comfortable in your own skin?

It took me years and a great deal of self-examination to like myself, to be totally okay with Mike, warts and all. I wanted so much for people…everybody…to like me, and took great efforts to make that happen. It’s impossible. It always felt like I was “on,” always in the spotlight giving a performance rather than simply being me. I’d censor what I would say, how I would act, what I would do, careful not to offend anybody.

It drove me crazy and I felt like a phony.

Why would I try to be someone other than myself? Fear. Acceptance. Insecurity.

This plagues us as writers, too. We’ve become so determined to not offend, for our work to be liked, that we end up writing nothing worthwhile, just a rehash of what he wrote and she wrote and they wrote because it’s safe and already accepted. It stunts our growth and limits our creativity.

But once you’ve become comfortable in your own skin, you’re truly free to write whatever you want, even if it’s an insufferable piece of crap, and be okay with it. Criticisms will still bother you, but not as much. Confidence blooms.

Not everybody is going to like you or your work, but as long as you’re satisfied, that’s all that matters.

Today may you find comfort in being you.

Peace,

 ML Swift 

IWSG
A great group of folks and sites!

This post was written as a part of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post the first Wednesday of every month and share our solutions to common difficulties, encourage other writers to meet their insecurities head-on, and seek supportive shoulders to tear-stain when we’ve received just one too many rejections. If you’d like to join the group (and we’d love to have you), follow the link to Alex’s site, grab a badge, and put your name on the list. I’ll see you next month!

The Letter “C” courtesy of  From Old Books

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26 thoughts on “Comfort and Joy

  1. Sorry you weren’t well enough to do the Challenge.
    Comfortable in our own skin means we’re very confident and relaxed, two things that help us to write better. Help us to be better people for that matter.

    1. This is my third attempt to reply, so I’ll keep it short. The first just…disappeared! The second went to a “can’t find that page,” so this one is a last-ditch effort.

      You got the point of my post perfectly, Alex. Know thyself, be comfortable in that knowledge, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

    1. Thanks, Melissa. For some reason, I had to moderate you…you’ve made comments before, so I don’t know why, unless it’s a different account you’re using this time.

      You are a sweetheart! I’m a little worried also. One day I’ll feel better, the next, at death’s door. Today, I vow to visit a LOT of people. I’ve missed everybody. Thanks for being you.

  2. Good reminder. Sometimes, for me, it’s the two steps forwards, one step back pattern. I learn a little more comfort in my writing skin, take a couple steps forward in confidence, then face a rejection or self-criticism and take a step back. As long as there is growth and just enough doubt to keep me improving, somehow I’ll make progress.

    1. I don’t know why you ever take a step back, J. You have a wonderful talent that should have you running to the finish line. But that’s my opinion…yours is the one that matters. Isn’t it funny how others have a bigger belief in us than we do ourselves?

      You fit your skin very nicely. 🙂

  3. Wow, this is such a powerful message. Thank you so much for your story with us. I can relate to this. It does take time to be comfortable with being yourself. I admire those who do. I’m not quite at that point as a writer. I think being yourself in writing allows a unique voice to finally shine through.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Thank you, Ana! Although comfortable for the most part, sometimes it’s a day by day job. But I know who I am and all is right with the world according to ML.

      Thanks for stopping and commenting.

  4. So sorry that you had to pull out of A-Z- sending hugs and healthy vibes your way: get better, man!

    What a great post for IWSG and C! It’s taken me 48 years and some pretty steep times to come to a place where I feel (mostly) comfortable in my own skin and writing played a huge part in that. About 5 years ago I just started writing- no matter what came out. Fear, anxiety, shame, anger- they couldn’t hold me captive any longer.
    There’s a freedom in writing authenticity. Really enjoyed your post! 🙂

    1. EXACTLY, Lexie! I’ve always kept a journal, but was even fearful to be me in that, just in case it was ever found and read. But now, I’m no-holds-barred. Perhaps this leads to a lot of foot-in-mouth, and sometimes I wince at some of the things I blurt out, but am mostly okay with it.

      You are so correct…we are free from the bondage of our emotions…free to express and release them like little balloons. Fly away to the moon!

      1. I started keeping a journal and writing super personal stuff but then I got really paranoid that someone would read it and I’ve shied away from writing in it since. Maybe I should let that go and just write. After all, it is who I am- so what if someone read it?

      2. More power to you, Lexie! And even safer (if need be), you can keep one in a document and on a flashdrive that no one but you can access.

  5. Mike, hope you start feeling better real soon and I’m sure a lot of us can relate with that. Wanting acceptance is human nature, I think, and it’s tough to just be who we are.

    A step forward is realizing that we have to be who we are and that honesty can carry us on to achieving it.

    Best wishes!

    1. Thanks, Mark. Earlier, I was heading over to your place, but we had this…rainstorm, if you can call it that (I’ve pissed stronger streams than the rain we had)…and lost power for over six hours! Yeah, the computer has a battery, but that didn’t help me get online!

      1. No worries at all…trust me..I know it’s a hectic time for a lot of people and it sounds like you have your hands full, as well.

        Wow, six hours?? That’s crazy!

        Take care of yourself and get better 🙂

  6. Hmm, I’ve had a bit of a look around – nice digs. Considering where you were a year ago, the comfort train has certainly been chugging in the right direction. Full steam ahead, brother!

    1. Thanks, Erica…still much to do.

      Supportive friends like you are what’s kept me going through this…been on the Express Bullet Train, and it’s been quite a ride.

      At the hospital right now. Had an emergency yesterday with Mom that’s made for a long, 26 hours awake. Nurse! A little more java, please.

  7. Swifty,

    I hope your mom is ok. I know how tough it must be to be sick but still be the primary caregiver. Stay strong and get well soon. The world needs guys like you, you are one of the good ones.

    As far as liking one’s self. It can be tough because you know where all the bodies are buried. You know your true self and sometimes we can let that get in the way of liking us. I am going to go out on a limb and say that you are likable. Especially in that blue shirt. Yes, I noticed you changed clothes.

  8. Two words: Well. Said.

    Oh wait, got some more words.

    I often say, “There are those who like me too much, and there are those who hate me too much, but I don’t put stock in either of those extremes.” The key is being comfortable in your own skin and not allowing the extremes of others to invade your space. Once the space invaders take up residence in you, you’re pretty much screwed. I have to move to higher ground a lot because I lose focus and let space invaders in. Although, I’ve gotten more adamant on keeping them suckers out.

    Again, Mike, this post is well said (okay, written…well written. Jeesh!)

    1. Well. Said.

      (And thanks for calling me Mike. You had me worried over on your site when you said, ML. Not really, but I didn’t know if I should start calling you Mrs. Foster Gray or something. So formal.)

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