I was stabbed through the heart as I walked through the doors of that bookstore…
Just moments before I had been posting videos on instagram cutting up about a backwards compliment I received, a disgusting smoothie I ordered (pineapple spinach) that turned out to be delicious, and my excitement for a day in the bookstore.
Then, as I crossed the threshold of the of the bookstore door it all came crashing down like a china cabinet refusing to perform its duty one moment longer.
At the entrance of the door I left the 80+ degree heat and traded it for a perfectly air-conditioned 72. I also left the joy and optimism that had filled up the entirety of my morning and picked up heart ache and despair.
My most familiar foe sat at a small table just to the left of the door. An author in the middle of her media tour was there at the table of this mega chain bookstore signing copies of her new book. I’m guessing she was dressed in character, unless she normally dresses like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz.
You’re thinking I’m some kind of jerk for calling a sweet milk maid my “familiar foe,” but I didn’t even see her.
She’s not the enemy I speak of.
It was not a cute little farm girl dressed in plaid that ripped my chest open and grated my heart through her fingers like a block of cheddar. No – it was that SOB “Insecurity”
I did not expect to see him here. He ambushed me and, defenseless, I was utterly defeated without him having to break a sweat.
I walked through that door expecting to spend an hour or two doing some casual reading so I could tell you all which books to read next. When instead I was reminded my own book- the work I have poured my heart and soul into- was not on these very shelves.
I was reminded that I’ve not sold the three boxes left in the back of my car and at the bottom of the stairs in my parent’s house. I was reminded how I’ve not received ONE REVIEW for a work that I chose to pursue instead of spending time with my wife and son.
Insecurity… he’s an SOB.
The strange thing is, I know I have the support of those who love me but that has been of no use in this battle. My enemy holds the arsenal of a global super power and I stand across from him holding a fencing sabre.
When I’m ready for Insecurity, when I see him coming and I know there will be a fight, I can prepare. I can tell myself,
“it’s only been 1 month, give it some time”
“If they don’t approve your work… F em” – Gary Vaynerchuck
“Your friends and family love you and support you.”
“Your book is good, even if it’s not recognized.”
All this is the way I keep going. I realize my identity is not tied up in all this. I realize my identity as a writer is not even tied up in it. BUT IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT I NEED APPROVAL.
That right there. THAT is the greatest vulnerability in my armor and my enemy knows it.
I won’t always lose these battles, I’ll win more skirmishes than not in the end when it’s all said and done. I’m going to get past this and do what I love… but for today I have been defeated.
I’m going to regroup and move forward. I will take back the ground lost, but for now I’m writing this as a reminder in the back of the Barnes and Noble I was just ambushed in, waiting for the enemy to pass by.
Insecurity never stays long.
As a matter of fact, I just might stop by that table on my way out and try to learn a thing or two.