Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
Rant Against Blocked Artists and New HSP Advice

Rant Against Blocked Artists and New HSP Advice

In The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, she wrote, “When we cultivate [our] gifts and share them with the world, we create a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives.”

I always thought it was just me. I’d been taught (like a lot of people) that it’s arrogant to believe that I have any gifts and that sharing my creativity is either a waste of time or an affront to good taste.

For much of my life, I paid more attention to paying bills than I did my gifts, and I was in distress. According to Brene Brown’s research, though, it’s not just me. We all want to share our gifts with the world and not sharing them is painful.

In The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, she talks about how the people who try to discourage us are blocked artists themselves. They want to create (share their gifts), but they can’t, so they project their own limitations onto other people.

They believe their art isn’t good enough, so they tell you that yours isn’t, either. They’re afraid of criticism, so they nitpick at you to distract from their own flaws. You get the idea.

I see this a lot when I read the reviews of memoirs. There’s always at least one reviewer who is upset that the author felt entitled to write a memoir at all. They usually say something like, “her life isn’t interesting enough to be written down!”

That always pisses me off. First, everyone’s life is interesting enough to be written down. Second, people are allowed to do whatever they want with their time, including writing down every single thing that happens to them. If it bores you, then don’t read it.

Are these reviewers worried about the commercial value of such books? Do they own stock in the major publishing houses? (If they do, they should sell that shit immediately). If people buy it, then it has commercial value. If the reviewer doesn’t think it does, then they shouldn’t buy it. I guess they probably already have, but them’s the breaks with the purchase of media. It’s always a risk. That’s why the public library is such an amazing service.

Are they worried about the literary value of memoir? By whose standards? I think we’re all pretty much past the point of deifying the institutions that have traditionally only existed to protect the interests of rich, white men, but if they think it’s trash, then they can go ahead write their own literary masterpiece. We’ll wait.

That was a bit of a rant, but I’ve had enough of the “blocked artist” types who want nothing more than to block everyone else.

Anyway, I came across this interview with Melody Wilding last week, who wrote a book called Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.

I requested the book at the library. Unfortunately, her generic title isn’t doing her any favors. It’s about what she calls “Sensitive Strivers.” As far as I can tell, Sensitive Strivers are overachieving Highly Sensitive People. Or, maybe she believes all HSPs are overachievers. That part isn’t clear to me.

Either way, I relate. Wilding says that Sensitive Strivers burn out young because of all of the sensitivity and striving. Maybe she has a solution for that burnout. If so, I really could’ve used it ten years ago.

Wilding’s book might be the one that I’d wished that Elaine Aron had written, but I’m often so disappointed by most advice to HSPs that I’m hesitant to get too excited by it. She seems to have done a number of interviews, so I can listen to those.

Wilding didn’t mention this in her interview, but here’s another interesting thing about HSPs: We’re more responsive to everything, both good and bad. Toxic environments are more harmful to us, but enriching environments are more nourishing to us. We grow and blossom more readily, given the right circumstances. That’s something to feel good about.

My usual Thursday Ballet class is canceled this week. Last week, the class was the fullest I’ve seen it in a year and a half. We even had the second man in class, ever. He was quite athletic and seemed experienced in dance but didn’t know ballet. All of his excessive leg power was going off in different directions, but with a little practice, I’m sure he’d be quite impressive.

I live near a coffee shop that serves a handmade ginger soda that I absolutely love. It also houses my favorite window seat of all time. It’s in a second-floor glass-walled corner that faces an intersection. So, it’s almost like sitting outside except without the exposure to the weather. I’m here for the first time in a while, and it’s making me happy.

One comment

  1. It’s a good vent. (I dislike ‘rant’, it sounds angry and irrational.) Sounds like you’re gaining the proper contempt for free-floating critics. Good for you! So rough when your life’s out there. I’m still using the soup theory – “Would this person bring me soup when I’m sick?” No? Then bugger off. Don’t care about me enough to bring soup then you get ZERO say about how I conduct my life or write about it. Silly, but it truly helps me keep perspective on how much weight a stranger’s words carry. Mwah! ~LA

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