Don't Take It Personally
As a writer, we're supposed to have a thick skin. If we don't go into the business with our eyes open and our armor on, we'll get flattened pretty quickly. It's the nature of the beast, right?
And how often do we hear, "Don't take it personally. It's nothing against you."
I try. I try really hard not to take stuff personally. And I've kept my head above water when it comes to the writing aspect of my life. I can take criticism and feedback, especially when it's given in a positive way. I understand that readers are subjective, and they will choose what they like. I'm the same way, so I can't fault them for that. Even rejection rolls off pretty easily. (It's the no response policy that drives me bonkers, but that's a totally different topic.)
But I'm learning that I take life personally. Big things can really hurt, but even little everyday occurrences are starting to get to me.
When I was younger, I was the kid people made fun of. I was a big girl. Inside, though, I was a knockout cheerleader. A graceful dancer. A rock star. A celebrated actor. A noteworthy intelligence. Outside, I was a frumpy, dumpy mess. Well, maybe not a mess, but after years of name-calling and finger-pointing, that's how I felt.
Feel. Yes, I'll admit that. Even to this day.
Despite all the current song lyrics that tell women they are beautiful without knowing they are beautiful and that's what makes them beautiful...or whatever teeny-bopper nonsense that is...I can't shake the scars that mar my self-image. And I'm not talking about just looks. It snakes into my abilities, my confidence, my worth.
I'm not writing this to gain pity or a soft touch for myself. I want you to be aware that there are others who might feel this way. Others who might have experienced past traumas of bullying or being made fun of or even abuse. As you encounter those folks, you may not know the story behind the tears in their eyes or their porcupine behavior.
My dad drank in order to deal with his past and present. It wasn't pretty or pleasant, but it was his way of handling reality. It killed him. I write. In my world, I can become the person I am on the inside. I can let her shine. She can fight those dragons (not literally...I'm a sci-fi author!) and take down kingdoms. She can save the day and have the world at her feet. She can overcome adversity without a single hair out of place.
So, yes, I take it personally. I absorb it. Dwell in it. Hold onto it. Punish myself for it. But I won't ever let you see me cry about it. That way, I hold the power. It's something I can work out later through prayer and meditation. It's mine, and mine alone to deal with. I belong to a loving God who will one day wipe away my tears as He whispers His promises into my soul.
But while we're here, consider your words and actions toward others. You might just save them from another scar.
Linda Rae Schaal
3/11/2016 03:44:18 pm
You have always been a beautiful lady to me Ashley. So full of life and love with one of the most radiant smiles I have ever seen. I will forever cherish our times of singing together. May I encourage you in your writing and as you continue to grow into the very special woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend that you are. As your birthday buddy... May I also bestow upon you my hearty proclamation that every October 7 bring you the promise of new life and inspiration, fresh perspective, optimism and endurance for the plans that our God has for you. Always remember that "we know Whom we have believed and are persuaded that HE is able to keep that which we have committed unto HIM unto all things." (paraphrased). HE knows us better than we ourselves. I too grew up with alcohol abuse and I too bear the scars. But our God has never left me nor forsaken me and while I will never understand so many painful things in this life I KNOW of God's Faithfulness and find my rest in HIM. For HIS presence has never failed. My Love to you and your precious family. Linda
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Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3