Being Insecure Sometimes Is Okay
And yes, my first crush was the grizzly bear on a television show. I was three.
So, I’m a lot of things, but one of those things is a storyteller (true stories and fiction), and I was lucky enough to be sent on book tours for some of my novels.
This is pretty cool, and for some authors this is a big dream moment, right?
But the thing is that when you go on book tour, it turns out you have to talk about yourself and your book a lot.
When I say, “a lot,” I mean, “all the time.”
I talked about me the insecure writer who was once an insecure kid who slurred her s’s, and loves dogs and whose first crush was on the grizzly bear, Ben, on the ancient tv show GRIZZLY ADAMS.
What happens a lot is that people acted surprised and told me that I’m so real or genuine, or sometimes I got criticized for being too open, which is totally okay. I don’t mind that at all, I just sort of cocked my head and listened.
I still get criticized for this: for not presenting as a constant, uber-confident writer-person. I don’t present as that because that’s not who I am. I’m confident sometimes. I’m not sometimes. I am a writer, but I’m also more than my occupation and my craft.
Those criticisms made me think of this Alex Karras quote:
“It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.”
The best thing about being able to interact with people on tour was relating to them.
There was one boy who came up after one talk and told me his entire story about his brothers in jail, how he dances, his dad and mom.
He said, “I knew you could relate because you grew up poor too, and you have your escape.”
There was one girl who whispered afterwards that she knows what it’s like to be the youngest child.
“My brother calls me, ‘The Mistake,’” she said.
I related right back with those kids. Because we were all honest, we all got to connect.
I cannot believe that I got to do that, that I got to hear the stories of other people and of kids, that I get to relate to people just because:
1. I am a writer.
2. I am not afraid to be insecure.
Lately though, as I’ve delved back into local journalism via my news blog, THE BAR HARBOR STORY, I’ve remembered that feeling and the honor, about how just telling the story of a town meeting of a marine resources committee, you get a tiny moment of connection, of hearing other people’s stories, of connecting small incidents into big pictures.
There’s a great honor and responsibility in telling stories, which sometimes scares me because I want so badly to do it well and fairly, but there’s also a great honor and responsibility in just getting to be a human, in interacting, in accepting your insecurities and others.
We can do that without being a writer or a journalist. We can do that by just being human.
None of us need to be perfect. And Karras is right in that quote. There’s so much strength relating to others, to listening, to not immediately reacting, but embracing the moments we get to witness.
I think part of living happy—or the secret to living happy—is realizing that and then re-realizing it (if you’re me). I don’t know about you, but I tend to have to re-realize things a lot.
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When I read the first line about crushing on a grizzly bear, I immediately thought of Grizzly Adams. We should have met as kids! :)