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There are 2 really important things I’d like to discuss today. The first should be obvious if you are paying attention to the world around you, which I know many of you current events slackers unfortunately aren’t.
WTF happened to Brad and Angelina?
I really thought this one had legs. And this is coming from a Billy Bob Thorton fan who thought “Bad Santa” was one of the most under-rated films of the last decade.
The truth is, if you’ve ever seen Legends of the Fall, you could have predicted this day would come. In that movie, (WARNING: SPOILER ALERT)Brad Pitt gets mauled by a big bear in the end, which feels like a helluva better way to meet your maker, then having to spend the last 30 years of your life remembering having been served divorce papers from Gloria Alred and wondering why Gwenneth Paltrow won’t return your texts.
Now, if the rumors are true, all of this happened because Brad Pitt has anger issues and smokes too much weed. In other words, other than the already obvious eerie similarities, this makes us a seem just a little bit more like Besties who have not yet met.
Okay, with that out of the way, I want to talk about jeans that make your ass look fat, and why you ought to celebrate that round rumpus if you care about staying sane.
Because I’ve had a few strange (and strained) conversations this past month with creatives who worry about bad reviews. Who can’t stand the idea of anyone criticizing their creativity or overlooking their ideas or ignoring their output relative to their peers.
We’ve all been there, and anyone who tells you they don’t mind bad reviews, isn’t someone whose opinion I’d value, or trust.
But to me, there is absolutely no bigger turn off than someone who is so absorbed by their standing on the totem pole of importance, or so subject to the opinions of others, that they need to perpetually pontificate about their contribution – or forever seem to seek reinforcement from the safety of their tribe, without end.
I remember my father, who as a physician, was (while practicing up until a few years ago) was subject to the whims and words of the random people who walked through his office door. One day, on a visit home 3 or 4 years ago, when I was telling my parents about one of the “review” style directory communities I was working on, my dad decided to check to see if there were any analagous sites for doctors in philadelphia/South Jersey, where he practiced. Of course there were. And of course, within a few minutes, my dad found himself and started to read the reviews aloud.
Most of them….neigh, almost ALL of them, were really flattering and sweet, and my Mom and I just sat there and listened. But of course, like all stories of sugar and spice and everything nice, the undefeated streak was destined to disappoint. So as my mom and I sat and listened, my dad read a review that was really insulting and ignorant – focused largely on his age (75 at the time or so) and his mobility, etc.
At a certain point, as my father continued to read what was like the war and peace of physician insult reviews my mom yelled out “ok, ok….enough already! “
To which my dad turned, looked at us, and just started to laugh hysterically. “Do I REALLY look that old,” he asked?
My mom said – “YES. you do.” To which we all started laughing as well.
There is this great moment in Dan Harris’s “10% Happier” podcast, where he is interviewing Ru Paul. And I forget the context, but the question comes up about confidence, and creativity, and the willingness to be fearless, focused, and free to be.
And somehow or another, Dan Harris wonders aloud – metaphorically – if these jeans make my ass look fat. (he may be talking about his wife asking- or a friend – I can’t remember)
But Ru Paul responds – “Your darn right they do, but goddamn do I love a big fat ass!”
There is something so incredibly freeing about finding your tribe. And just doing what you love for yourself first, and then for those who you know will love it, or need it, or enjoy your words, wit, wisdom or experience.
To those people, your imperfections are what makes you, worth watching. And cheering. And admiring. Everyone else – those who want or need or crave something different – a point of view you don’t have – a body of work you’ll never build – an age you’ll never again be – for those folks – who matter not at all – you’ll never be enough.
So here is the second celebrity. (and a half – or a quarter, depending on your taste in scientifically progressive spiritual books)
I was struck today, on Facebook…..by a comment shared by a writer I happen to enjoy and admire. In the year or two we’ve been “friends” on FB, I probably can count no FEWER than 50 occasions where he has shared this long emotive “rant” on how under appreciated his words are, how the skeptical scientists overlook his work, and how those who pay attention, criticize his theories as wild, wacky and just weird. If this isn’t bad enough – in his view – his “peers” are lauded and applauded for weaker work – and kookier contributions – and sillier science than what he continues to contribute.
When I think of him now – his latest book just “dropped” this week – I can’t help but think of a perpetually insecure person first and foremost – someone who needs constant reassurance from his “fans” that his work is worthwhile – and deserving of applause.
There is an old quote about pain and suffering – I paraphrase – pain is baked into the program – but suffering is optional.
So when it comes to your work – do you and choose not to suffer. Be free and fearless and write for an audience of ONE – yourself. (more on this is coming soon 🙂
It’s the only way. Really. Because in the end, you’ll discover – the universe, much like Angelina – never really cared either way.