I’ve always been someone who slips into a state of worship when I meet someone I profoundly respect, someone I aspire to be. These people usually fall into two categories: role models and nemesis. Both are equally important when it comes to people figuring out their direction in life. Like everything else, my collection of role models and nemesis evolves as I do. Recently, it has come to my attention that I’m in a state of flux. I’m going through a transitional period in my life and my role models and nemesis are changing. For as long as I can remember, I have worshiped one particular author. I started reading her when I was very young and she was the first author to write characters and stories that spoke to my soul.
Anytime I read one of her books, I’m instantly transported back to a time when my best friend and I used to steal pocket change from our parents, skip school, and read in the back of Paper Ink, a discount bookstore. Actually, that is where I found the first book I read from my role model. Without her influence, a part of me is very sure that I would’ve never figured out what my sexual preferences actually were, my life would’ve taken a different direction. I would’ve been a different person. At the time and since then, I haven’t been able to say that about any other author. I can’t say that any other author profoundly impacted my life, my world view, my fate. As a result, this creature, this author, has always been somewhat of a goddess to me.
Unlike most other people, I was privileged with an opportunity to meet my role model. Well, a reader kind of made the introduction for us. Since then, she’s been where I go when I need to talk to someone. Most of the time the tone of her emails resemble those between a teacher and a student. She’s better at maintaining boundaries than I am. Frankly, I’m not someone that thinks about boundaries first. I’m kind of honest to a fault and that means that I tend to treat everyone like they’re my friends. That quirk gets me into a lot of trouble. All the time.
My perception of her has recently changed. I don’t know whether that was my own doing or hers. I think I’ve finally outgrown her to some degree. For one, I’m not her target audience anymore. I find it very hard to read her newer works and when I do return to those older books I’m hyper-aware that the woman who wrote this book is gone. She’s changed, she’s evolved.
We have always been divergent souls and now I find a strange sense of peace unfolding over me. I no longer care what she thinks of me or my work. I will always value her opinions but I am no longer her disciple. I’m my own Master and it has been an incredible journey to get here. The world looks so different now. The people I once thought gods are just mere mortals.
I will always treasure my time and relationship with that author, and I hope she remembers me warmly. She will always a hold a dear place in my heart, and I will be sure to tell my children that there was a time when I worshiped a goddess and it was only with her favor that I managed to understand exactly how lost I was. But now my time in her temple has come to an end. I’m free.
I’m free to fail without her guidance and I’m free to excel and leave her behind. I don’t have to be anything to her or anyone else. I can walk this earth on my own.
I know this sounds strangely dramatic but I’m a fiercely loyal creature. Basically, I should’ve been a solider but I’m better at writing. For me, cutting off emotionally from someone or something is the equivalent of going blind to their existence. I don’t see people as objects, but I don’t automatically see them as worthy of protection either.
The people I’ve considered my role models and nemesis in the past, I’ve always deeply respected and I’ve considered them worthy of my emotion and effort. Always.
I still have role models, but they’re people like Gandhi and Buddha. No other author has put me on my ass since Maiden Rose (Manga).
Either way, I don’t see winning or losing or better or worse. I don’t actually see other authors anymore. I see other books. Other authors are slightly irrelevant to me. I’m only interested in what they’ve written. I’m only interested in what they can write. I’m only interested in how they’re presenting those books to readers. I have no real interest in them as people. That is new for me. I used to wonder about their personal lives, I used to wonder how they managed their successes and failures, and now I find that I exist in a world where there is only books and people who speak of books. Nothing else. How wonderful.
I’ve accepted that I will make very few friends in this industry. I’m not here for friends. Go fuck yourselves or be so dope that I crave your vibe. If you’re someone in a position of authority, I’m a hard pill to swallow because I will never recognize your sense of superiority or pander to your sense of sensitivity. I don’t hang out at pity parties either. If you want nothing to do with me, that’s perfectly fine.
You know what else I’ve figured out? I seriously don’t care what anyone else thinks. I used to labor over emails and messages, I used to cringe over any proofreading error, I used to worry that I was revealing too much, I used to let myself drown in a cycle of perfectionism. I spent my life battling an intense need to be liked and accepted. I’ve always either repressed with silence or I’ve exploded in erratic behavior followed by long disappearances. Now, I’m just kind of…chillin’. Doin’ my own thing. If something occurs to me, I do it and I forget about it afterwards. Living in the moment works for me. I have no expectations from anyone. I don’t expect people to be nice, I don’t expect people to like me, I don’t expect anything from anyone. I’ve never been happier.
PS. A note for the authors who contact me looking for marketing help and to the authors I follow (you know who you are, I make no secret) — don’t take my kindness for weakness. Don’t mistake my playfulness for a lack of cunning. And do not think that I can’t see every machination and that I don’t feel your actual emotion when I’m reading responses. Disguise yourself on that high horse all you want. You make a fool of no one but yourself. The only difference between me and you is that I genuinely don’t care about being thought of as a fool or otherwise. You might. Keep that in mind.