eyes on your own paper, nic.
wow, this website can hold words, too, huh? who knew. i haven’t used it as more than a storehouse for episodes of the podcast in a very long time. but this morning i woke up with a song on my heart. or some words on my fingertips…however you wanna phrase it.
i made the above image this morning because i needed a visual representation of the hard work i’ve put in over the past couple of years. i have this really bad habit of consistently undermining myself in regard to my levels of accomplishment. i’m a chronic overachiever and overfunctioner. i do not like being idle for too much time because that’s the devil’s playground or whateva. but honestly it’s coz if i give myself too much time to think about things that are not productive i slide down into a place where i do dumb shit. what kind of dumb shit you may ask? well, i’ve got a list pal:
compare myself to other people around me doing the same things
denegrate myself for not doing more (despite having less time in general; not in comparison to others)
overbook myself trying to be everything for every body
lose myself in trying to live up to some standard that has been set by no one but me
and all of these things can lead to burn out. which, i rarely experience, but when i do? oh baby. it’s shut down city. the kid ain’t even tryna go that route, so every now and again i check myself. i’m a visual learner with a fake photographic, yet short term deficient memory, so i have to do things like make charts/collages/etc. to remind me of what i’ve done in so little time.
for the first year and a quarter of my publishing career i juggled working full time, being in graduate school, and writing. but i would see my contemporaries with new releases every other fortnight and i’d berate myself. convinced that i could be doing more, despite having more than enough on my plate. because at some point this nicole falls thing went from being “oh that’s cute, i’m published” to “ok bitch now you need to dominate”.
& let me tell y’all something. i’m a survivor of gifted & talented programs of the late 80s and 90s. used to always being at the top of the heap, star of the show, center of attention for being fucking brilliant, you dig? being average in this book writing thing? it wasn’t working for me. i needed to come harder. dig deeper. release more projects. be in more faces. do all of the events. make everyone love me. blah blah blah bullshit. more unnecessary and undue pressure to live up to an impossible standard.
i’m never gonna be everyone’s favorite. i’ll get to #1 status eventually. might even get a stan or two along the way. but i won’t get there if i keep thinking that my success has to look like her success or her success or her success. if i keep worrying about what author a, b or ccj is doing, how does that help push MY brand forward? if i’m focused on writing what i think people wanna read instead of listening to my intuition, where does that get me? who am i doing this for? what is even the purpose? when will i ever reach whatever peak or summit i deem to be the highest, thus being satisfied?
the answer to those questions (in order) is: it doesn’t. nowhere. your ego. ain’t nan. never.
& quite frankly, none of those are satisfying to me. what is satisfying, however, is reveling in accomplishment. seeing every new project as a way to grow, and learn, and expand, and progress, and thrive. zooming out every now and again to take a look at the larger picture and being grateful for gift, talent, drive, and creation.
so now i work to actively do those things. CONSISTENTLY. and honestly? that shit’s harder than the writing.