‘You are a Good Writer!’
Several people told me that I was a good writer. Huh?
Every time it invoked a lovely warm feeling inside me but within a split second an elephant fell on my back.
‘Really? Em… Thank you!’ I would say while looking as if I was a good writer (how do they look like?) to show that they had made a valid point, while trying not to curl my body up into Turtle Mode.
Are you like me who don’t know the proper way of receiving compliments?
I gave this a bit of thinking and remembered the first compliments I got during my growing up years. My mum, being a Chinese mum, tended to say more bad than good about me in order that I learnt to be humble. The odd occasions when she complimented me, it came with responsibilities.
‘You are a smart girl – study hard and you can be number one in class!’
‘You got good grades this time – study more and do even better next time!’
‘You are good at drawing – practise more and you can teach this one day!’
We all know that the punch line is what people really want to say. The compliments were thrown in as part of their game plan.
Not to say everyone is like this. I learnt now that most people genuinely want to express their appreciation and the by-product would be encouragement. I can’t help but feel the invisible punch line though. Thanks, mum!
I used to enjoy drawing till I was ten years old. Everyone who saw my drawings said they were good. I didn’t want to fail them and wanted to be better. Soon a whole herd of elephants descended on me and I told my mum I didn’t want to go to drawing classes anymore. She said I was ‘3-minute warmth’ which is Chinese slang for having short lived passion. No, mum, that wasn’t passion. That was joy. Joy was no more because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t set out to be ‘good’, much less ‘better’. I thought I would be a failure if I had continued.
I did a bit of thinking about what a good writer was. Let’s see – no grammar or spelling mistakes? Great content? What is great content, by the way? Writes books that sell many? Published by Penguin Classics? Shakespeare? I wrinkled my nose at this point – do you know that at Shakespearean times, people didn’t wash that often?
Let’s start again – they said that I was a good writer…… ‘They’ mostly translates to my husband who reassured me that he wasn’t bias. I trust him because if I don’t, it means big problems in our marriage. No, thanks! But, yeah, me, who is currently at her comfort-est zone (in bed) hiding behind Pinkie the Porkchop stressing out about what YOU would be thinking about me calling myself a good writer. Let’s set the record straight – I’ve never called myself a good writer. ‘They’ do. You can call them liars or low-standard badgers if you disagree!
Breathe! I’m the only one who thinks in my head…
What do I think? I never set out to be a writer, much less a good one. The fact that I now live on the beach in a Greek island is an accident, not a writer-wannabe cliché. I started this blog after telling my clients and friends the same things again and again, things like simple techniques regarding wellness that everyone can use. Soon I added posts on Greece because I talk about it often and when I’m with my friends, I rather listen to their new stories than to dominate the conversation with my favourite subjects. Plus, sometimes, like this post you are reading, it helps me sort my head out and it might help you too, if you are a bit like me within this topic.
For me, writing is a romantic thing to do – it’s unnecessary yet it invokes highly favourable feelings. I can easily point my friends to the Real Good Writers for what I want to tell them. Yet I entered this unnecessary pursuit to cultivate joy within me. The joy of creating something from scratch, the joy of sharing my thoughts and journeys, the joy of making things up as I go along.
It is like having dinner at home by yourself in candle light, taking a pause during a busy day to listen to your favourite song, or jumping up and down and spin around in the middle of a crowd just because you feel like it. It doesn’t’ matter what ‘they’ think. What matters is that you enjoy it and that you are not afraid to gift yourself romantic moments. This is one way to show yourself that you love you. It is far easier than creating romantic feelings for another person, such as a husband sitting through a romantic comedy that he absolutely despises with his wife.*
Perhaps one day, I will be romantic enough to submit articles to magazines or even flirt with the unthinkable – publishing a whole book. Right now, what I need most is to expand the seed of joy by knowing my worth.
So, good or not, I continue to write.
Er…… if you ever find my posts useful to you, please let me know! Often when no one is looking, I bring up the kind words that people gifted me and let butterflies chase the elephants far far away!
*Yes, PhotoMan**, the last line is my romantic gift for you!
**PhotoMan is my husband’s Super Hero name. He can’t stand most romantic comedies but being the romantic that he is, occasionally he comes up with some great films that he can enjoy with me, like Shirley Valentine and My Fair Lady. Badger is one of his favourite animals and according to some documentaries, it is the most fearless and toughest animal.