Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rambling on about what other people think v. what I think

Eric has told me for the past eleven years that we've been married that I care too much about what other people think. I try to consciously make decisions every day that matter to me only, and not about what someone else might think, but I have to admit I'm having a very difficult time with this.

I mean, if you really think about it, if I honestly didn't care what anyone else thinks, I guess there'd be no reason to get dressed every day. I really could stay in my pajamas to drop Portia off at preschool or I guess make-up would completely be history. I know there's a fine balance here in wanting myself to look presentable (for me, I suppose, or for whom really?) and not wanting people to think I'm a total slob. But there we go back to caring about what other people think.

Last week when I was so conflicted about Bianca's performance on piano in front of all those important piano people, one of my friends made the comment on Facebook that as long as I knew Bianca could play that song well, then what did it matter if she messed up in front of all those other people? But really, isn't it human to want to be accepted and respected by other people? Then caring what they think is clearly important. Can't I want other people to think "Wow, that little girl is pretty good on the piano!" And is it for my glory or for hers that I don't want to see her fail? Is it really wrong to want other people to notice?

I'm trying to get to a point in my own personal writing where I want to write for me and me only--that way, my love for writing isn't hinged upon the sale of my novel or for success of the monetary kind. It has to be for me. But why do writers slave away in a lonesome room? It's the most solitary thing we can do in which we're trying to relate to other people. After all, don't writers want other people to enjoy their work? I finally feel like I've reached a point where I honestly don't mind if I never publish anything I write. I'll keep writing because it gives me purpose and makes me feel creative and smart, even if it is only for myself. But let's face it: Even without ever publishing, I still want the people in my writing group to like and relate to what I'm writing about. And then am I just lazy if I write novel after novel and don't put it out there because I don't want to be rejected over and over?

I know I could go in circles about this for hours. But I really am trying to find the right balance of wanting to care less what other people think and do things for myself, but where is the right balance? When will I figure this out?

On Sunday, after five days of letting Bianca just not play Fur Elise, I took out my video camera and I asked her if she would play it for me. She sat there in her comfortable pajamas, on my humble upright piano, and she played slowly and carefully and beautifully and so relaxed, and I knew she could do it. So why did I want to tape it to prove that she could do it? And why do I want to post it now just so that I am reaffirmed that she could have done it like this all along--and who am I really trying to prove this to?

I know life is a whole learning experience and I'm still learning every single day.


Jenny G said...

When you find the solution let me know:) I hear being 40 is awesome because you finally really accept who you are and are so happy with it. I don't know that there is a right or wrong answer. I know I like other people to like what I do, but when that's all I care about I try to step back and see what I really want. Good luck to all of us!

rachel said...

I can so relate to this, Jeana. Writing is solitary and yet we crave the validation because that is how we make our mark in the world. I think that writing is like acting. We are on a stage hoping somebody will clap for us.

I too, care a lot about what others think. Somewhere is the balance, but like you I'm just taking it one day at a time. This was a great piece of insight!

Erin said...

I know how you feel. I totally obssess about other people and what they are thinking about me. I think women have more of a tendency to do this than men. Travis can never understand why I continue to harp on what someone said. I am glad that you write for yourself, but I also hope that you keep your dream alive of writing for others.