How the anxiety of being wrongly judged stopped me from writing
And what I learned from these people.
There was a time when I was so happy for having published my first novel. I was over the moon, with that first paperback in my hands. The refreshing smell of new printed paper was impossible to describe. Perhaps the perplexity I was in was a result of mix emotions. Its glossy cover had me excited and enthralled with what it represented in my life. My first book! The first step to the realization of a dream I had since I was 6.
The first published book! It wasn't mine made of flesh and bones, but of my imagination, tears and the magic of my soul. I did it all in that first book. It was another baby for me! And I decided to cherish it and protect my artwork as I protected my kids.
I have spent most of my life writing different topics. Several manuscripts are finished and waiting for revisions, hidden in places I must dig and dig until finding some. That's where I left them for the past years.
It all started when I was six. I wrote poetry for most my childhood and teen years. I made a poetry book- a DIY book- which I produced, printed and even bind myself and sold them independently in my hometown.
While the dream of my life was to become an author, my other passion was to become a criminal lawyer. I made a BA Magna Cum Laude in Criminal Investigation and Criminology. Shortly after, I had my first son. Having that tender little boy in my arm I knew I would never have the heart to defend and lie for a rapist in court. That way, I gave up my law career to pursue a job that didn't involve liars or rapists. God forbid I dedicate my life to defend scumbags like that, pedophiles and perverts of all kinds abusing kids.
Happily, I focused on my writing and over the years I understood the first step into been an author wasn't to get a publishing house and a huge literary agent to sign me, but to actually make my novel. That's how I learned about self-publishing.
I dared to show my work to the world. With my book, my joy and my outstanding creativity I was invited to radio stations to interviews about my writings. Inclusive, I received an award from The Association of businesswomen of Puerto Rico.
Prideful, I continued my journey of writing, though I had already met a few bumps in my road. Sadly, not everybody was charmed by my charisma, my sense of humor and my courage.
I knew since the beginning that not everybody would be extasic for my success. Damn, I knew from day one that many people would be so pissed off just for my attempts of success. But I never understood the magnitude of that thought until I crashed against that wall.
It is very true that those around you will be the first to become your opposition. Those you love and are supposed to love you back will be the first to twist lips or change subjects if your book becomes a topic of entertained discussion in a family gathering. Why?, you may have asked, just as I did. But a reason will never come. Because there's no reason.
What I didn't see coming was to be judged as if I was everything mean and creepy or spooky I wrote. For some unknown reason, some extended-family members had a personal vendetta against me. Everything I did at the beginning was okay. But suddenly, all I did was wrong for them.
My first book: Sweet Menace tells the story of a 17 year old baker witch who has a disability, for which she's been mocked by the villagers and she is searching for vengeance.
As some people matched the character's features to me, they started judging me as a witch, claiming I knew too much about witchcraft to just be inventions, that I, in fact, was the main character of the book- the witch looking for revenge.
Things just kept escalating and the way they treated me deteriorated. Funny thing, they never dared to say anything to me about the topic, but bombarded my husband with stupid ideas that I practiced some kinds of sorcery. Why they never told those things to my face? They really thought I was capable of casting a spell upon them? Wasn't I capable of doing it anyway?
Since day one I knew I wasn't completely welcomed in their house. I was in a tedious divorce and I'm a mom of 2 kids. Is unknown for me their exact feeling, but some of them were verbal about it. Is funny that people who have so many flaws, so many bad things done openly, so many bad behaviors and bad acts, are the ones who feel in the right position of judging others. That would be understandable coming from a conservative extremist religion family, not from mean people who were doing bad till yesterday. Or turned into religion five minutes ago.
I never heard complains when I stuffed their mouths with my delicious desserts and foods! That wasn't witchcraft, then? Just as the main character of the book, I was a self taught pastry chef, and not to be arrogant but I do cook good!
Over the time, I tried to ignore their comments behind my back. Still, they kept hammering me with their family, relatives and every known person. Until it was almost impossible to me to continue faking a normalcy never really existed.
By that time, I published a second book named Confesiones de una Feminista (Confessions of a Feminist), in which I use humor to talk about the frustration of relationships and women experiences with different type of men. It's an idea I fell in love because I was surrounded by a
macho society where women are never right.
That was like a kick in the balls for those people, who took advantage of randomly opening a page in the book and attacking my husband with those words. Because of that book I was the penis-slicer witch, greedy bad woman, male-shammer, mamma's boy hater who had a revenge against the world.
Thank God that, by then, I hadn't wrote any character with sexual perversions. By then...
That has gone too far and I had enough of them. Of all of this. I was appalled by their attacks. What have I done to be treated like a despicable criminal? Why was I and my work under their attack? Because I was a creative writer? Because their personal hate against me? Because I use my imagination to create terrifying and awesome stories? Because I was ballsy and always tried my best? Because they feared to end up as a character at some point? Because they feared I would put their nastiness in writing? Please! Don't make me laugh.
Staying away from those people was a great choice for us. Our peace grew and our happiness improved. Our family became prosperous again. Our love never was in question, but our peace was.
Been judged so wrongly because of what I love to write was simply so difficult to surpass that I felt resented against my writing. At some point, I blamed myself for their actions. From there, came the idea to stop writing. No more writing, no more contempt. Right? No. Wrong.
Then, for a while I just wrote hidden. I tried my best to put this talent in the past, but turns out you cannot deny the gifts with which you're born, and something inside me kept telling me I needed to resume my writings.
Over the time I discovered that no matter what I decided to write, the problem wasn't me. The problem was them. I've come to accept I'm a gifted person. God gave me imagination, creative power. Just as others received the gift of fluently preach and convince, the gift of painting, of combat, of healing, I was given the gift of words to entertain.
I was away from writing for over three years. It was foolish I know. My husband tried to convince me many times to continue writing as it was my passion. He knew how much it meant for me, and his support was priceless during all these years. When this year begun I started to write again. First I started a journal. Then, I promised myself that at least I'll start blogging by my birthday. I was determined to get myself back. I wasn't going to allow bad people to take control over my talent or over my life. They had done us enough damage already.
Soon, I found myself immersed in a new story. One outstanding novel for adults which I know they'll disapprove. And I'm so proud of it. In a matter of months I've developed a few projects and currently I released a YA novel called INKED, I'm finishing Sweet Menace Part 2, and also write in my webpage a few times a week.
I've come to make peace with myself and with the fact that those people will never like me, not for what I write, not for who I am, but for what I really represent for them. I've accepted the fact that we are better without that kind of damaging people in our environment. I've learned that for every relative eager to stab you, there's a dozen strangers betting on you.
I've made peace with myself and I'm happy for it. I have become tired and intolerant of people who hurt us like individuals and like family, who were allowed in our lives and still want to sink their knife to reopen the scars they left. I've grown inflexible and distrustful of words and people who only manage to lie and bully, and change when is convenient for them. I've become paranoid and overprotective of myself and those I love. Those hurtful acts of mean people had made me turn into a feral woman who don't care about bullshit words.
As a writer, my emotions will sometimes be reflected on my writing. That's the gracious part of it! Pain will sometimes result in the most beautiful stories to cry. Happiness will maybe give the most hopeful books. Writers have the ability to create wonderful magical words even with heart full of anger, and also create the saddest scenes while over-rejoicing. We've been blessed with a talent. Not everybody will like it, but that's the point anyway. To be liked by the right people. For our works to be admired by those who really deserve such burst of inspiration.
Just as the doctor is blessed with the knowledge to heal. The painter will provoke brutal emotions through his images... The musician will make you feel love or his own pain. Writers give dreams and ideas, hopes of a better world, illusions of a shining new tomorrow, a relief of insecurities and a beautiful escape from other people's insanity.
Lots of love,