“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde
Write about it.
Want to be liked? Get ready to relegate yourself to last place. Get ready to spend your hours studying what pleases people and then more minutes, hours, days to dedicate your life to doing that, the thing everyone likes. Last-place-people work hard. The pathological need for external approval is silencing us.
Write about that pathology.
But be careful not to offend anyone. And stay in your lane, especially if you are a woman or you don’t have a college degree or you’re fat or poor or old or generally worried about what the neighbors may think.
Please. Offend us. In writing.
People tend to avoid controversy, especially women. Of course not everyone will like your words, your audacity, your balls. But what about the ones who will?
Write about how censoring your voice feels.
But for fuck’s sake, do not curse. Especially if your favorite expletive just so happens to take God’s name in vain. “They may not read me, they’ll probably judge me, and they definitely won’t like me if I tell them how goddamn painful and hard it is to keep up the pace. I’m tired. Do you like me yet?” Sound familiar?
Write about it. In whatever words convey your message.
Sometimes my words, once written, whisper, then scream: LIKE ME LIKE ME LIKE ME EDIT THIS DELETE THAT GET IN LINE LAST PLACE PLEASE AND STOP JUST STOP BEING WHO YOU ARE BE WHO THEY WANT YOU TO BE. And now, I can’t write. I can’t think for myself either because it’s not about me; it’s about you and what you like and I guess I suck at loving myself too.
Writing is an act of rebellion and self-love.
Like is hard enough. Imagine what it takes to gain love. We have all heard that in order to love others, we must first love ourselves. Who’s got time for that? Who’s got time to write?
Write about that. If you dare.
When I unfurl myself onto the page I remember that time, how many decades now? That time when I danced with my darling daddy on the front lawn, laughing, loving myself and him too, carefree, fresh flags whipping in the night air. That effortless laughter. And that other time when he left me because he wanted people to like him so he stayed drunk because it was too hard to be someone other than who he was. And “goddammit” (my father used to say) “I have no idea what love is.”
Or that time I loved someone. Without a care for whether they loved me back. Because loving someone feels good. Remember when reciprocity didn’t matter? And you did?
That flag is yours. Keep it tightly folded, collecting dust and regrets. Or touch it. Write about it. Let it dance, if even for a moment, on the front lawn, in the green grass, back when there were still fireflies, back when you mattered. You still matter. That flag is you. Fight for that.
Write about it.