All I got right now is “try.”

Last night, while checking my blog stats, I realized that someone had unsubscribed from my blog.  I spent a frantic ten minutes tracking down who it was–thankfully it wasn’t someone who knows me “in real life.”  And yet, I still felt sad.  Why don’t they like me?

I told Eric, and he said “So? You don’t care do you?”  Well, kind of.  I want people to like what I’m doing.  He said “I thought you were doing this for yourself?”  I am, but if I didn’t care what anyone thought, I wouldn’t do it quite so publicly.  I want people to read it, I want an audience.  I want people to think it’s worth reading.

I want people to like me…

Ah, there it is.  The problem, the central issue, the heart of the matter.  I don’t want to be famous, I want to be adored.  I want permission, I want approval.  And it hurts so much more to get rejected for who you really are and what you really care about.  In an article in the January 2011 issue of fear.less magazine, the author Steven Pressfield says “I think we’re all terrified of that, to be what we’re meant to be. Because then all the responsibility lays on us and we can’t hide behind anything.”

And yet, once I realized who had unsubscribed, it made sense.  She was a 20 year old student from New York who loves books and reading and who’d found my blog because of a post I’d written about how much I loved reading.  She thought that this was a blog about reading, the love of the word.  And it is, in part.  But, I’m sure that my posts this weekend about death, cancer, and marriage freaked her out a little.  This wasn’t what she’d signed up for.

But it is what I’ve signed up for. I am going to show up, I am going to try. I don’t want to stop, and there is still work to do–great work if I can just figure out exactly what. So, here I am: all in. The habitual numbing out that I have practiced for so many years is sticky and I feel claustrophobic in my stinky little cocoon where I’ve spent most of my time. It isn’t working anymore. Something has to change. I have to save my own life.

7 thoughts on “All I got right now is “try.”

  1. Courtney Putnam

    I resonate so deeply with this post, Jill. That feeling of needing to be liked is on my sleeve and I look at it every day, hoping that I can continue to try and be “all in” as you so aptly write. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Thank you for being you.

  2. Emily

    I think many creative people, myself included, get trapped in this need to be liked–and it is a trap. Whenever I come across someone who dislikes my stuff–or simply (worse?) isn’t interested, I have to manually remind my bruised self that if everybody likes it, it probably isn’t really saying what I want it to say.

  3. anandi

    I think it gets easier the more you put yourself out there, too. I was terrified to open an Etsy shop because “what if people hated my jewelry?” and was terrified of getting bad feedback, or no sales, etc etc. But once you decide to just DO something, because it makes YOU happy, dealing with this kind of rejection gets easier.

    Every week I lose a fan or two on my business Facebook page, but I often gain one as well. And I can honestly say it doesn’t bother me anymore.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      It’s so nice to hear that, that there’s a place where it won’t bother you anymore. And to be reminded that it’s about the doing, to focus on that.

  4. Pingback: Play Them the New Songs « A Thousand Shades of Gray

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