I really enjoyed Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino. Jia writes the kind of book I would love to write one day. It’s intelligent, analytical, witty and laden with personal experience from her own life. She doesn’t pretend like she knows all the answers or that her view is the right one. She has this balance of being on this journey of self-discovery and being confident in knowing herself.
Jia recognizes how she benefits from a really messed up system (um, privilege) and how if it hadn’t gotten to be as messed up as it is, she wouldn’t be where she is today. I hope to never have to rely on benefiting from a system of capitalism and exploitation of people to be someone, but I know I already failed that challenge. I can’t opt out of a system if I want to change it and opting in means benefiting from capitalism and standing on the backs of less fortunate to survive (I guiltily shop at Walmart and Amazon ☹).
Jia has been writing forever and I appreciate the journey she has taken us through her life, while also commenting on the ways of society. I think sometimes I get wrapped up in my own writing journey and the feelings of inadequacies that come along with it. Sometimes I feel like I came into this game too late. Good writers, real writers, have been working at their craft since they could pick up a pencil or in Jia’s case, when the internet became an accessible thing and she could blog.
I mean I did a little bit of writing when I was growing up. I wanted to write a book series about these conjoined twins that shared a body and just had a split face (it was based on this show Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, if you must know where I got this stupid idea from). That was in 6th grade. And of course, I didn’t finish past two chapters. In high school I dabbled in very bad, angsty poetry. I also liked to journal. Mostly about just events, but not a lot about me interpreting those events.
My attention span was just so bad I never really finished projects I started. I even had a blog for a while when I started college. I only made a few posts before I quit. Even when journaling, I would sometimes leave entries unfinished. I had things in the margins to remind myself of what to write about when I had time to continue.
This is why I feel so proud of this blog. It may not be big with a lot of views and visits (please share with your friends if you enjoy, though!), but I have stuck with it and I have grown so much by putting so much energy into this project. Something I struggle with is wanting it to take off, but I hate when I get wrapped up in the social media BS to try to get it to people. It’s me trying to participate in the system I do not like (well, what I know I should not like because it’s not good for me, but I can’t just get rid of. Like sugar). My validation as a writer is unavoidably linked to the approval of other people, especially on the internet.
Jia doesn’t seem to spend too much energy on this dilemma, so I shouldn’t either.
If you are a writer, how do you handle feelings like this? And if you’re not a writer, how do you deal with this in other areas of your life? Let me know in the comments, friends!