“…Do I dare
disturb the universe?”
-T.S Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915
Musings enter my mind often, rattling around like loose change. Until I pick them up and slide them into my slot machine of creativity, they lay around and shake and disturb my consciousness. They are constant reminders that I need to cash in, that my payments are stacking up.
The day I stop cashing in is the day I stop breathing, and that bothers some people. People who look down on me. The reasoning isn’t always clear, but it’s usually about my age, or, more surprisingly, my gender.
If you’ve never heard of or read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S Eliot, it revolves around the narrator, who is very insecure and fragmented about his looks. Prior to that line, he goes on about how others will judge him because of skinny arms and a slowly fading hairline.
Everyone has insecurities, whether they’re willing to admit that or not. Or maybe they’re insecure about having insecurities. It’s an endless cycle that stems from someone in their past that said something vulgar. We’ve all felt like a castaway, stranded on an island with nothing but the inner voices that commentate on every awkward motion, every stray glimmer of hope.
We are vulnerable, after constantly chipping away at what made us strong. We are our own worst enemy.
I am my own worst enemy.
In the world of writing, there are those who get a thrill from bringing people down. The antithesis of constructive criticism. They rely on personal attacks, and they drink it up.
I have been on the receiving end of those attacks ever since I’ve began this journey. To say it hasn’t broken me down some would be a lie. Being so young, my self-esteem has been molded by the hands of readers. That sounds worthy of pity, yet it’s the cold hard truth.
I wouldn’t lie to you.
So, the comments, they fly. They come in swarms. They become grounds to build a wall.
The moment where I realized how self-efficient I had to be was during a talk with a fellow writer. He was talking about my writing style, how beautiful it was, and I was humbled, since he was talented as well.
Then, he suggested that I use my “looks” to gain more views. Take advantage of the fact that I was a younger female in a male-dominated field. Anyone who knows me can understand how unbecoming that makes me feel. Whether he was trying to flatter me, or if he was serious, it doesn’t matter.
I consider myself a NASCAR writer. Not a female NASCAR writer. I believe that gender has nothing to do with how well you complete a task, challenge. You don’t get anywhere when you use physical aspects to accomplish something.
Your beauty can succumb to wrinkles, gray hair, worsening eye sight. If you work at it, your mind will always be a stunner.
Before, I would get so frustrated because of those people. Now, I let it roll off.
Why? It doesn’t matter.
My dream and unwillingness to give up. That matters.
It doesn’t seem like that now, but it will get me where I’m going someday. Someday, someone will see what I do and be impressed. All they will ever do is offer constructive criticism.
I will stay the same teenage girl who writes and writes until her fingers bleed, then write some more.
To those who think I should give up now, tough luck. To those who think I should use “looks” to manipulate my readers, fat chance. To those younger people who see the same idiotic babble that pops up in the comment section, don’t fret; your skin will harden and reflect in time.
So . . . do I dare disturb the universe?
Do I dare break free from the chains made of stereotypes and judgments?
Do I dare become the person everyone doubts I can flourish as?
That answer is yes.
For me, it will always be yes.