Several days ago, just for fun, I posted a small poem and a photo. I loved finding the photo prompt, making a connection right away, and then putting together a small poem about what I saw. I felt happy about it.
After I published it, I went visiting other bloggers to see what they were writing about. As it happened, several posts I read were top-notch. Way beyond my own small post that was ‘just for fun.’
Bummer! It didn’t take long. The more I read other posts, the smaller I felt. Inadequate and virtually voiceless. I even thought about taking my post down.
That evening I wrote about all this in my journal. Here’s the paragraph that best describes how I felt.
- Right now I feel hot and bothered, a bit chagrined, small, less than an average writer, even embarrassed, as though I wasted my time with this piece of writing. Even though it gave me joy to do it! I think I’m weighing myself against other writers. They seem to have more finesse, deeper ideas, more winsome ways in their writings, more responses to what they post, better ideas and even more fun in life even if I don’t want to live their lives.
I wrote on, trying to sort this out. Near the end, I started coming to terms with myself. Here’s a key paragraph.
- I want to let my heart speak to other hearts. Yet right now I seem to want my heart to make them happy—so they’ll come back for another happiness pill? I don’t know. We do seem to be a culture driven by expectations of happiness—meaning that somewhere out there today I’ll find something to make my day—something to make me happy—something to help me feel alive and worthwhile.
I don’t pretend to be an accurate observer of our current culture. What I say may be wrong of most people ‘out there.’ It was not, however, wrong about me on that particular day. I was driven by my need to feel happy. I was looking for “something to help me feel alive and worthwhile.” Not in someone else’s writing, but in my own. Which I did–for a very short time.
Why did my initial joy vanish so quickly? Perhaps I lost my confidence? I don’t think so….
I am, however, sure of this.
- My experience after posting my poem exposed something in me that I don’t like. I say it often enough: Comparison is the source of all discontent. I say it because I don’t want it to be true of me. Sometimes it isn’t. But on that day, it described me with painful precision.
Thanks for listening!
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 January 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Exposure