When I was a kid, after a having a huge fight with my brother, I remember running to my mother mid-tantrum ready to tell her what a terrible son she had. I don’t know what my brother had said about me, but I was whaling like a hyena. I was ready to stick a fork in his leg, but only after I made my case and won my victory. Looking back, my entire childhood I was obsessed with being right. It’s no wonder I was tired and lazy by the time I became a young adult.
Anyway, my mother looked at me and said, “If someone said you had green hair, would you get mad, Antonella?” What the hell kind of an answer was that? I was right! Go punish him! However, my answer to her was, “YES, BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE GREEN HAIR, MOM!”
I never did understand why people said things that weren’t true until I finally got over myself and realized that sometimes the view of the truth depends on where you are sitting. That was a tough day for me, when I came to realize that I could be right at something without anyone seeing it or that I could be wrong without knowing it.
The more that I have come to self-reflect and work on getting to know myself, the closer I have gotten to my mother’s green hair comment. My ego is huge and I am no where near taming it, but I have slowly (turtle-speed) become acquainted with it. What I would love more than anything else in the world is to be able to live out my profession while being private, but sadly, that’s not how the job works. To getting your dreams right, you have to expose yourself to being wrong. By posting or involving yourself in projects, you reveal what you are interested in. By collaborating, you reveal your work ethic and your ability to get things done. When revealing content, you have to share the corny quotes that inspire you and the ideas that keep you up at night. If you want to get work, you have to build a portfolio or hang pictures on walls for people to view, with no guarantee that they will think it’s good. Scary, huh? I know.
If there is anything that I have come to understand in the last year, it was accepting why I had purposefully delayed pursing my passions; I was not ready to be wrong. I was not ready for someone to tell me that I was a bad collaborator. I was not ready for someone to tell me that my work sucked or that my eye wasn’t really that interesting. So, I removed myself from the risks. I took conventional jobs in practical industries, only to have my very fears manifest themselves in these “safe” places.
“Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the roads he took to avoid it.” Jean de la Fontaine
That’s when I realized that in life, we run the risks at being wrong at everything that we try. It doesn’t matter what it is, there will be negative feedback waiting. We are not perfect, so it’s impossible for our work to be perfect. The minute I realized that, I recognized the importance that lies in doing what we love. If we’re going to be wrong, loving what we do is what gets us up the next morning and makes us try it again. You can reason conventional jobs & place blame, but when passion is involved, the course is simpler. You just want to be better, you just want to be good, and you strive to find your “right” in the wrong.
I hadn’t started this sooner because I was not ready to be told I had green hair. The green hair comment was a bit above me then, because I wasn’t aware that the only way for that sentence to sound foolish required that I be confident that I, in fact, did not have green hair.
If you told me that I had green hair today, I would look up at you from my computer and look back down. Stop wasting my time.
However, if you told me that I’m not a good writer on a day that I had writer’s block, you’re probably going to wake up the kid with the desire to stick a fork in your leg. Why? Because I’m scared you’re right.
I now understand that when something sets me off it’s because a nerve has been hit, not because a meaningless rant annoys me. It’s always surprising to me how a random comment gets me to react. I often have to sit down and really be like, “Wow, really? You think that about yourself?” It doesn’t mean that it’s right, it just means that a fear of it having some truth in it exists inside of my head. I’m aware of this now and I work at it as often as I can, but I must admit that being at peace with my profession has made it easier for me to do. Whether it’s personal or business-related, make sure that you’re in scenarios that are worth your time. A great deal of my frustration was caused by having taken roads that aggravated the situation for me. When we’re unhappy with the set up that we have subjected ourselves to, it’s an additional layer of foggy feelings that we’ve added to the mix.
Next time something sets you off, try to relax. Be excited. Your homework has arrived.
Think about the comment handed to you. Forget about the fight or confrontation, you have bigger fish to fry. What are they implying? Put yourself in their shoes. Was it just a meaningless reaction they had? Is it true? Why are you so mad? It’s undeniable that you’re reacting, why are you reacting? Stop being a chicken and answer the question. Com’n, say it. A nerve has been hit, my friend and it’s time you give it name.