I was with a (female) friend the other night, and we lamented how angry and short we’d been with people all week. She’d yelled at some kids at the park. I flipped off no fewer than five people in one morning. We were tired and frustrated, and our fuse had been blown by all the world’s nonsense.
On top of ALL THAT, I’ve been stretched so thin lately that I can no longer see myself. I wrote a list of all the current “hats” I wear, and I didn’t even get to “daughter,” “wife,” or “friend” before I ran out of room. I’m having a hard time differentiating between what I “need” to do, what I “ought” to do, and what I “want” to do. Working four different jobs, I serve four different bosses and four different clienteles. It’s easy to slip on my own writing and promotion, because it’s not like I send myself urgent emails yelling, “I DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE ON YOUR PLATE, I NEED THIS DONE TODAY.”
Maybe I need to send myself mean emails.
When I’m feeling particularly frustrated, I always think about those “day in the life” writers’ profiles in upscale magazines, where the (dude) writer wakes up, drinks his coffee while reading the newspaper, and then retreats to his cosy writing nook until lunch is ready. (He doesn’t have to make his own lunch, obvs.)
I always think, initially, “Fuck that guy,” but now I’m starting to think, “Why can’t I be more like him?” Maybe he’s got it all figured out.
He, guaranteed, doesn’t fret about sending emails requesting reviews or promo help. He doesn’t set aside his writing because he has to do something for the kids’ school or bake some cookies. He is his own priority.
From this moment on, I only bake cookies because I want to.
From now on, I drink my coffee, retreat to my writing space, and turn off the rest of the world.
From here on out, I don’t equivocate in my correspondence with people, and I don’t put off writing emails because of nerves. I say what I mean, as succinctly as I can, because I’m a writer and a grown woman, and I’ve earned my place, damn it.
The rest of the world isn’t going to stand aside and let you or me through the gates because we’re polite and follow the rules. The past few weeks have proven that. We’re women, and we are not believed. We’re women, and we get nothing handed to us. We’re women, and no matter how agreeable we try to be, we’re only going to get pushed aside. We will have our motivations questioned and our tones challenged, no matter what we do.
So, we might as well take a page from that dude writer in the New Yorker piece and start putting our own wants and needs first.