Thursday, August 25, 2011

In my head, zombie

My youngest daughter is hilariously extreme. I'll give you an example.

I'll be brushing her hair and hit a snag. She'll cry out, "Ow!" Then pout, "You love to hurt me." Or she'll make a statement of fact, like, "It's hotter here than in south Alabama," and I'll say, "Well, not really. It just seems that way today." Her response? "You just think I'm stupid."

The first time she did this, I was alarmed. Was my child suffering from a horrible low-self-esteem issue? I didn't see any additional evidence of that. She had friends, did well in school...

The second and third times, it was funny, and I'd hug her and tell her to stop being ridiculous. After a while, it became incredibly frustrating because it was like she simply shut down and didn't want to learn or work with me.

She's just a little kid, so my goal is to help her grow out of it. But then I catch myself doing the same thing!

OK, I'm not going around declaring everyone thinks I'm stupid, but I'll catch myself, when met with criticism of a piece of writing or a particular scene thinking, "This is just stupid, I should just trash the whole thing. I'm the worst writer ever."

It's Laura--and she's in my head! Like that "Zombie" song by The Cranberries. (Wasn't that the worst thing? Talk about a message getting stuck in your head, and what did it even mean?)

Anyway, am I the only person who does this?

I can say (with help) I've learned to push back on those mental messages that I stink and I should stop wasting time every day and start pounding the pavement and get a Real Job and etc., etc., but occasionally they'll still pop up.

When my daughters are playing together, my oldest will sometimes yell downstairs to me, "Mom! Tell Laura to stop being ridiculous!"

That makes me laugh because my oldest is a true mini-me. I have to watch what I say, because it will be repeated back to me. In the same tone of voice even.

So I'm telling myself (and any of my reader- or writer-friends out there who might be in the same boat as me): Stop being ridiculous. Just because you get a bit of criticism or a helpful suggestion, take it. Don't close up shop or believe you stink.

And if you're hearing the same message over and over, look at what it's saying. Maybe its an area that needs a little focused attention.

Wow. Some unexpected inspiration for the weekend--have a great one! Til Monday~ <3


27 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Oh no! I do that as well. Sometimes I even believe it.

Kelly said...

I get a little bit of self doubt, but I press on harder then.
And your daughter sounds like mine. She's such a smart, creative little girl, but she will say things like that to me too!
I'll say, "No, this is the correct way to do this," if she's having trouble with something and she'll yell, "Are you saying I'm dumb?!"
Ahhh, drama queens.

Lady Gwen said...

I'm full of self doubt, but I just keep going forward - no chance of succeeding unless you try. Plus, I've read The Power of Positive Thinking about a million times :)

Dawn Ius said...

Uh, yeah, I, um, have a teenager in the house and sometimes we, er, compete for who can be the most dramatic. I am slightly embarrassed to admit, she doesn't always win - especially after a round with my awesome (and honest) crit partner.

Nina Powers said...

I've found hours of self-doubt, okay sometimes days if I'm honest, I can make it all disappear with one thought "What have you got to lose?"

Summer Ross said...

Self doubt is coming on strong these days as I'm in the last few weeks waiting on one of my short non fiction stories that is out in submission. Waiting always gives me self doubt and I have to fight the urge to withdraw my story. Thanks for the encouragement.

The Time Sculptor said...

This made a lot of sense to me; never thought of it like that before! I'm guilty of this too!

I've just done a post on the funny and embarrassing things my daughter said when she was tiny, called "Out of the mouths of babes" and it was lovely to find your post after trawling through all the little sayings of my toddler!
Jane Gray

Carolyn Abiad said...

Some guy named Steve Jobs said: "have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." and he started Apple in his garage.

Maybe I should move my desk to the garage. ;)

Laura Pauling said...

I try my hardest to ignore it but I also know I go through swings of optimism to negativity. Part of it is the journey.

Myne Whitman said...

:) Thanks for the sweet anecdote and pep talk, we all need it sometimes.

Old Kitty said...

Oh it's so incredible what children pick up!!! AWwwwwww now you just have to find the strength to believe and trust in yourself and your talents!! Your children know when mum is not a happy bunny! Be strong and confident, LTM! Take care
x

Angie said...

Yeah, I do that too. It's a hard tendency to fight. But you are right. Thanks, Leigh.

Clarissa Draper said...

Great post. I have suffered from all or nothing, black and white thinking... well, I still do. It's hard not to but I know my son also copies me.

Jennie Bailey said...

You know how I'm ridiculous? Not so much in my writing...but with every little headache and tummyache and sneeze. Like I'm DYING of something exotic. It's quite the joke among friends. I sneezed at dinner this week and my bestie called the waitress over to get some 'tea' because I was clearly suffering from a case of West Nile Swine Encephalitis. That's me in my ridiculous glory. Oh, and one more overshare - I have really thin hair and I used to cry when my mom would brush a tangle out so she got mad at me in the 3rd grade and cut it ALL OFF. I looked like a little boy. When it grew back out, there were no more dramatics over the hair brushing. (Disclaimer: I am not in any way suggesting you cut Laura's hair. I'm just doing my typical Jenn waaaaay overshare because I heart your post. And maybe had an extra starbucks with dinner.)

Jessica Bell said...

Ha! Wow. It certainly does sound like she's getting those phrases from you. LOL. You'll just have to start blatantly praising yourself :o) Watch it doesn't become a habit, though, you might end up at a party one day, introducing yourself like this: "Hi. My name's Leigh, and you know what? I rock" :o) Actually ... that wouldn't be too bad :o) xoxox

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi LTM .. out of the mouth of kids! Such is life isn't it .. laughing things off is the best way, or taking the 'micky' out of yourself - easy way .. takes the sting out.

All part of their learning curve and yours! Have a great weekend .. cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

I loved this post, because I could really relate. I used to be THE WORST at accepting criticism. My mum always used to say 'you're SO sensitive!'

And while I still am sensitive about MANY things (just ask my husband), I have learned to take feedback and criticism on board without imploding. I had a very hard situation earlier this year when a CP I really trust read my MS and commented half-way through: 'this is where I'd stop reading'. OUCH. Needless to say, I took her feedback on board and powered through, and it's a much stronger work now.

LTM said...

@Summer--hang in there! It's already in, so the least you can do is let it ride~ GOOD LUCK! :o)

@Jane--little ones are as precious as they are inspirational. :D

@Laura--I know you're right. We can't help it when so much is invested emotionally and we have to hear so many nos before we get to a yes. It's tough. :o) <3

@Hil--too true. You have a great weekend also! :o)

Shannon said...

I love this. :)

I know that voice, the little douche. I've learned to shut it down, but every once in a while I hear whisperings. Best exorcism - a girl power song. Katy Perry's Firework does an exceedingly good job.

Julie Musil said...

Um, I say this to myself at least once a day. What's up with that? Maybe I need to stay at your house and hang out with your daughter :D

Pk Hrezo said...

Yep, I get that annoying little bugger in my head from time to time, but I'm so stubborn I just ignore it.
Aren't the little ones hysterical?? my daughter is a true mini-me too and I see myself in her all the time thru her words and actions. That being said, I am deathly afraid of the teen years. God help me! ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

I can really relate to this post. I am always down about my looks, weight, age, and so on. I try my hardest not to say it. When my daughter tells me I'm beautiful, I cringe. I want her to feel good about herself, but I'm an awful role model. Though in my defense, I do tell her how beautiful and smart she is, and she takes it fine.

Anita Grace Howard said...

Oh, Leigh, I think that's so common to all writers. We're a neurotic bunch. LOL. Maybe you're girlie is going to be a novelist one day. ;) But it's true. At some point we have to turn off that pessimistic voice so we can improve and move forward. Great post! And I owe you an email! I haven't forgotten! TAlk soon...

Kari Marie said...

Your kids sound delightful! Thanks for the awesome pep talk. Negative self-talk is a real problem for me sometimes.

Lynda R Young said...

HA, this is the kind of advice I need to hear on regular occasions ;)

Matthew MacNish said...

Self doubt and negative thinking are a part of all our lives. You just have to ignore it.

LTM said...

@PK--it's awesome that you can ignore it. I can mostly, but at certain times of the month... :p Yes, the kids are a HOOT! And I tremble at the thought of my house in seven years... :D

@AG--I've said since she was a child Laura's going to be some kind of artist. At least she'd better be! ;p no worries about getting back, and you're right. We have to resist that terrible voice~ <3