So I finally saw myself on the page in my last blog post and what did I do? I asked you the reader more questions:
Where are you in your story? Are you screaming “Don’t go down there?” Are you waiting for the action to get started or trying to make sense of it all? Is there a clear direction? Who is the villain or love interest in the piece? Most of all are you enjoying your story?
I deflected that spot light right back at you.
I ask questions. I facilitate and coax out your responses, I don’t answer them myself.
Yet I got called out. I was in Scott Dinsmore’s creator’s guild facebook group doing more of what I do – chatting with the community, sharing and commenting about how I was finding it hard to meet my writing schedule, when out of the comments jumps David Herz.
“Now just to be in your face – because I am that sort of fellow – I think the reason you had nothing to say two days ago is that you didn’t put yourself in the post. You gave advice that it’s not clear you yourself have taken. You could easily have filled a page or two if you had honestly engaged in these questions for yourself.”
At first, I wanted to hide. It was uncomfortable being seen.
Yet I started this blog to give more and discover more. I’ve been blogging in Job search for quite some time and I wanted to challenge the vanilla advice. You know the paint your house magnolia so it will sell it approach to ‘fitting in a box recruitment’.
It is easy to ask questions. Listening and interpreting the results takes more skill, but answering them honestly yourself, quite another.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? What is selfology if it isn’t doing the work? Struggling to answer, not just posing questions. To listen to your own voice no matter how feint?
So I agreed to answer the questions I set. That I would be honest and just hit publish within a short timeframe, with none spare to second think or over edit it. The rather wonderful David Hertz held my hand and did the same.
So let’s do this
Where are you in your story?
Well folks, we’re at the point of the plot twist. Brad Pitt has just been revealed as the alternate personality of Edward Norton. Bruce Willis now knows he’s dead and the first vampire has just bared his fangs in From Dusk till Dawn. The protagonist suddenly has new possibilities laid out before them that they weren’t expecting and for the moment they’re improvising.
You see my genre had been set up until this point. It’s a working class made good story. It started off with the immigration of my Irish grandfather who says he remembers the “No Blacks, No dogs, No Irish” signs on the pub doors in London (we now have popular Irish themed bars – is that progress?) and hours spent playing pool in the working mens clubs frequented by my father.
My family worked hard. They drove lorries through the night, carried railway sleepers and concrete blocks. They lifted, dug, pulled, heaved, pushed, drove, hammered and carried. They paid in cash, provided, earned and sweated for their families. For me.
I became successful. I earnt my gold stars. Was in a small handful of kids with similar backgrounds in the all girls Grammar school I passed tests to get into. Held a job since I was thirteen. Was the first in my family to go to university and won my first graduate employment with a large well known corporate in London, before I sat my finals. I then fell into the Recruitment industry gaining promotion after promotion. I married and had two fantastic children, one girl and one boy, whilst maintaining my career. Eventually set up and ran my own Recruitment business growing it well for five years. So that’s the end right? That’s as far as my expectation took me. I still ran hard and fast at everything.
Then I burnt out.
Then I got back up and went at it again, only this time actually questioned whether the direction was truly up and whether I wanted to go there.
What am I screaming at the screen?
Well it fluctuates from “Get over yourself” to “Yes, finally it’s getting interesting”.
Is there a clear direction?
No. There is intent. I’m not completely lost, I’m alive – is there a difference?
Who is the villain?
Fitting in. If you’ve been in as many different environments as me you become well versed in it.
As Brene Brown says:
“Fitting in stops you from belonging”
Boy I wish I knew that at 12. All those groups and cliques and faceless others that gate keep the membership. Who write the unspoken rules. Who decide that your school bag isn’t quite right and by that they mean its wrong as there are no half measures. Who know how it’s pronounced. Who can smell the fear and use your different to validate their uniform.
It’s feeling the pain anew as I watch my now 12 year old navigate the shark infested waters of self confidence, place and group dynamics of her new school. It’s biting my tongue as my inner voice calls out the plays of how to win people over, adapt, change, mirror, in order to try to fit. Yet that’s what I did and I want better for her, I want her to belong – belong to herself.
Who is the love interest?
Am I enjoying my story?
I’m feeling it. I once viewed my life as this precious glass bauble that I worked so hard to create. The anxiety I felt just trying to keep it safe was a weight pressing down on me. It was exhausting and unfulfilled as I viewed my life through that glass. Separate somehow.
The glass is broken. It’s messy and it’s sharp but I’m feeling it all.
Thank you David for pushing me. For reminding me that to make a connection you have to reach out and stretch. That to me defines a good coach.
In order to take out you have to put in and I extend David’s challenge. If you want a go at answering the questions, either comment or post a link to your post and I’ll share.
***update David’s post is here: http://coach.theherzes.com/blatant an amazing insightful and honest share I’m in awe of, really worth a read, hope it encourages you to come up with your answers too?