I first wanted to be a writer because I loved writing. Then I wanted to be published so I could feel validated. Then I was published and people said nice things to me, and I felt good about myself. I first wanted to be a photographer because I liked taking pictures. Then I started posting my photography on the internet and people said nice things to me, and I felt good about myself.
Then I had a baby and realized I couldn't do it all. I inflated my online identity so people would think I was still awesome, and I continued to work even though sometimes it was killing me. When I would get little or no feedback, I was crushed. I needed the recognition.
It all came to a head when I realized I couldn't keep up. Working to get accolades wasn't adding to my quality of life; it was actually detracting from it.
So I stopped. I took a break from writing, decided that I wasn't going to teach anymore, and got a small job working behind the scenes for a website. Of course, this all happened in tandem with our move. In New York, I was determined to slow down, be a stay-at-home mom, and work part-time from home. I also cut way back on my social networking, especially Facebook, which seemed to propel this need for feedback.
When I read The Spirit of Food, I would read through each writer's bio before reading his or her essay. After a while the bios all started to look the same: where the writer went to school, where the writer has been published, what the writer does for employment. These are important components to each writer's life, but when listed one after another, it all starts looking the same. I thought a lot about what my bio would look like, or what it should look like.
Today's Curator includes an essay where the writer looks closer at this idea in the context of blogs and the way the glimpse they provide into other people's lives can diminish our feelings of self-worth:
The height of my Womanhood is not measured by what I do, but who I am. The quality of my character is not measured with a yardstick, nor by the height of my tomato plants. The real fruit of life is not found in traffic numbers or tutorials, but in the qualitative depth of living in love.It's taken me a long time to finally accept that my value as a person is steeped in my character and in God. Those things don't require anyone to give me feedback and say nice things about me; they require me to love others and accept myself. Whether I ever publish another essay or post another photograph is a separate issue, one that shouldn't determine my value or worth.