Yesterday was the 3rd end of the year recital for my writing group - Chat Noir Writers Circle. There is much to be said about celebrating one's growth and accomplishments.
The first year our leader told us we needed to learn to be storyTELLERS as well as storyWRITERS more than a few us vocally rebelled. I may have been considered one of the ring leaders. Then, as now, I understood the theory behind the whole show thing. Learning to address and make contact with an audience is a confidence booster. Its also a good marketing tool - for our authorship as well as our manuscripts. But I still wanted no part of it.
I may have said it before on this blog, so forgive me if I'm being redundant. After my 6th grade valedictory speech, when I thought I was as close to being my all time best as I could ever possibly be, I was put back in my place by my father's cutting words. 50 years later I'm pretty sure he was not overtly trying to hurt me, but most of his words cut like Wilkinson steel. Pride and embarrassment switched places that day. I was a little girl. What did I know of demanding a retraction, or standing up for myself? I decided it was better not to put myself on display if I had a choice. Staying in the background, as far away from the limelight as I could get, hiding in the shadow of others became the place I felt most comfortable.
Don't get me wrong. I've had achievements in my life. I just never gave them much credit, tried not to brag (even in private), convinced myself it was a mistake, or not really meant for me. [As I wrote that a memory came flooding through me - of being selected for the National Honor Society in high school. In order to be inducted into the group (even though my grades had already gotten me there) my fellow honorees and I had to undergo a hazing ritual. As hazing go, it was pretty mild. Maybe the smart people didn't know how to do the really mean stuff. But for me, wearing my clothes backwards and rolling a peanut down the hall with my nose, was pretty mean. It was demeaning, humiliating. Not funny at all for someone like me. What was the point, I ask myself now? And I still don't have an answer. ]
Fast forward a bunch of years. I got active in the church and became a lay reader. That's right. The girl who didn't want to be seen, elected to stand in front of the whole church and read from the Bible. Maybe elected isn't the right word. May it was more like being led by a power greater than myself. By reading/speaking in church my comfort zone expanded. And I learned that people I trusted thought I did a good job. Even my father on occasion told me I'd done good. I think the adult me could accept the compliments, but the child me still wanted to hide.)
All that to say, that this whole writing and performing thing has been a giant leap for Little ME. When people complimented me yesterday I was able to say thank you and let the comment sink it instead of batting it away. How's that for growth?
Wishing for you acceptance of your own talents,