Defining Success


I’ve been in a transition phase (again). Last month I answered Bri Saussy’s journal prompt from her Book of Hours, “What can I stop pretending to be/do?”

I wrote that I need to stop pretending that I have an online business because I don’t. I can stop pretending I’m writing a book because I’m not. This left me hanging. Then what am I doing? Self-care. Self-analysis.

Watercolor classes for fun and creativity.
Pilates classes for core strengthening.
Therapy to treat my depression.
12 step recovery to treat my alcoholism.

What constitutes success for me? Maya Angelou said it best, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” It’s not about six figures, getting famous, or buying lots of stuff.

I haven’t always liked myself. My negative self-talk has been vicious at times. I’m grateful to say that my spiritual path has helped me grow away from inner forms of cruelty towards more lovingkindness and compassion. Looking at character defects straight on is difficult but worth it in the end.

There are times I wish I never said, “I’m writing a book.” When people ask me how the book is coming, it’s embarrassing to say that I’m not working on it. There are reasons, of course. The story was flawed, the premise fell apart, my fiction writing skills need more work.

It was a good first effort. I learned how to craft a story arc after I completed NaNoWriMo. I used to wonder why people who won it never finished their books. Now I know it’s not that easy!

I still love writing. There are many ideas floating around in my head, things I want to say.

I can write them here where there’s no real audience and that’s ok. It feels oddly safe, even though it’s public, not many read my posts. I’m good with that. I can accept where I am right now with the process.


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