There is this picture I once saw on Facebook that says, “I am who I am. Your approval is not needed.” I shared it on my page, but you know what? I want to wear those words on a T-shirt! And I want the WHOLE WORLD to know that even if they do not agree with how I live or work, even if they no longer respect me because of some choices I have made with my life and my work, then all I have to say to those people is this: “I am who I am. Your approval is not needed.”
For some time now, I have been seeing blog posts and newsletter editorials of how certain people I know have thumbed their noses at others just because they are not on the same path as them. Or, they encourage people aspiring to be like them to cut away all the “deadwood” – that deadwood being people who decided to aim lower or accept a lower offer or go indie with their books, or something. Now I respect their opinions, their beliefs and their choices. But when I am a part of this so-called “deadwood” and they are constantly putting out this very same message, I have to wonder if they’re trying get a certain point across to a certain person who is not doing certain things THEY are doing.
Even worse are the kinds of people who are dormant in someone’s life but then, when that person becomes a megaselling success or a superstar or gets a contract offering millions, they all of a sudden pop into your life acting like they’ve been your BFF for YEARS.
I once had the experience of knowing a certain celebrity – or, at least, I THOUGHT this person was a certain celebrity. But at the time that I thought this person was who I thought he was, all of these girls who were fans of his flocked to my email account or my MySpace page wanting to know ALL the details about this person, what he’s like, etc. I mean, I was hearing from one person several times a day. I thought we were friends. Ha! Silly me. When I realized the jig was up and a poser was in my midst, POOF! Almost all of those girls were gone. (That was quite a wake-up call for me, I’ll admit.) Well, all except one. She thought I had been playing her all along, then when she discovered the jig was up, she sent me nasty emails like I had lied to her then cut off communication completely. (Which is probably just as well, anyway.) These people are in a category known as “fake friends.” They love you only because of some reason or another, but not for the person you really are.
I DO want to do well with my writing. I DO want to achieve a certain level of success with my work. And when I do, and ALL of those “invisible” friends I have suddenly reappear in my life acting like we’ve been buddies forever, I will only look at them and ask, “Where were you when I was struggling? Where were you when I was still trying to get to where I am now? Where were you?” They were being SNOBS! They decided they DID NOT want to talk to me or be a friend or anything (a REAL friend) unless and until I became the kind of person they wanted to KNOW.
But you know what? I am not going to waste my time or energy on these people anymore. If someone wants to be in my life, then I welcome them into my life. And they should try TALKING to me once in a while, you know? Otherwise, they are being snobs. If they don’t want to be in my life, then it’s no skin off my back. I can wave goodbye just as easily as I can wave hello. If they don’t want to be my friend but instead want to “pretend” they are only to take what I write, do or say and use it as ammunition to talk down to me or act like a snob around me or create some other kind of drama and get on some high horse, then I’d rather they NOT be in my life at all. In fact, that right there is pretty much a good description of the kind of “deadwood” I should cut away. And, of course, I am paying close attention to who is actually “there” and who is not. I have been lied to, manipulated and taken advantage of so many times in my life (including by certain family members), I have gotten to a point where I am careful with all relationships.
I am not a snob when it comes to who gets to be my friend. Believe me, as someone who has had third degree burn scars on her face nearly her whole life and has had to endure years of bullying and teasing because of it (even from certain family members), I cherish and cling to my friends. The person who is ACTUALLY a friend, that is. Whether that person is rich or poor, fat or thin, famous or unfamous, successful or not successful, Christian or atheist, gay or straight, black or white, tall or short, THAT person will still be my friend. And I will not look down on him or her just because he/she is not on the same path as I am. I have deaf friends and I have hearing friends. I have famous friends and I have unfamous friends. I have rich friends and poor friends. That friendship will stay there as long as they decide they WANT that friendship with me despite everything else. Despite my not marching to the beat of THEIR drum. If they decide we can’t be friends because I’m not a millionaire or I don’t have an agent or I am not published by a big-name publisher, then I guess we’re not really friends after all. And I am better off cutting away the snobs, because I really would rather not stick around as a target for them to poke at with their tripe.
Sorry, people, but I march to my own drum. I choose to self-publish my poetry books and my children’s because I Want To. I choose to be an independent author because I have received MUCH better treatment AND exposure as an indie author than as a POD author or one published by a traditional press. (I still love those other publishers, though! You guys rock!) This is just me and the way I am doing things and how I am living life. This is my thing. Your approval is not needed.