So, I’m a creative writing major, and this summer I was in one of the intensive workshops for crafting the short story. I went in bright and starry eyed and excited to make stories that made people laugh and smile (That is after all, what I want my writing to do).
For those of you who don’t know how writing workshops go, let me explain. You’ll write a story, and then hand it in. The next week everyone comes back after they’ve read your story and they spend an hour telling you everything they liked and hated about it. It can be a horrible depression moment if you find out you’ve written a bad story that had plot holes or unclear meanings.
So anyways, the second story I wrote for the summer was one that was really close to my heart. I talked about growing up, and all the bad things that happened to me, and I interwove those flashbacks with a story about how I once had to take care of a dying manatee in Florida (true story). The story hinges around the fact that a really cute guy was paired with me to take care of the dying manatee. Me and him ended up becoming friends, and I kind of maybe had a crush on him, and it was the first time a straight guy had ever talked to me in my life. I was shocked that an attractive straight male would ever talk to me. It really brought me out of my shell! So, the whole irony and humor of it is that as the manatee was dying, I saw myself finally starting to live.
Basically, the entire class said they loved the story. They loved the imagery of the dying manatee, and the contrast between it and my life, and the humor of how sarcastic I was able to remain despite being next to a rotting manatee. My teacher however, didn’t.
She was like… well I feel like you shoved a happy ending down our throats… I didn’t like that. Now, it should be noted here that my teacher is a self-proclaimed “high brow” writer (though unpublished…cough cough…) She doesn’t like stories that create happy endings or morals and stuff…”thats too mid-brow” she’d say. So things like The Help and stuff drive her crazy and she thinks thats all crap.
Anyways, so long story short, she just constantly put me down, and it really hurt. However, now that the semester is over, I’m starting to look back with a more clear view of my writing. I’m actually very proud of my story, and I everyone in the class, besides my teacher, praised it.
SO WHY AM I WRITING ABOUT THIS?
Well, I think we have a tendency of focusing on the negative, rather than the positive. So why was I letting the voice of 1 mask the voices of 15? Granted, she was the teacher, so maybe she “knows more”, but i mean she self-proclaimed to be someone who hates mid-brow, so can I even trust her opinion? …Probably not.
So the point here, don’t let negative people put you down. You’ll never win with 100% of the people you encounter in life. Sometimes we just gotta let shitty people be shitty and get on with our lives. It hurt a lot to have her bitch nonstop about my writing (I met with her in her office hours to discuss further, hoping to try to reach common ground….didnt go well, she literally didn’t even want to help).
ANYWAYS, We all need to gain a heavy dose of self-belief. I know how hard it is, trust me, I felt like shit after walking home from that workshop, and I felt even worse after walking back from her office hours. But I can’t help but believe in my writing. I loved writing this story, and I loved sharing this story. And even her bitching and moaning can’t bring me down.
She was…hmmm… well, let’s just let the gif speak for itself…..
I’m actually starting to believe in myself, and that feels fucking amazing. I hope everyone out there can feel a bit better about themselves. And if someone out there is learning to feel better about yourself and/or believe in yourself, what are some tips or tricks? Feel free to talk about it in the comments, I’d love to hear!
~ The Dark Horse