Back when my husband and I started dating, I was rather surprised about how well it went. I was seriously bad at dating—awkward, shy, average-looking, and, honestly, a little scared of the whole going-out-with-a-boy thing. It was difficult for me to believe anyone would want to spend time with me of their own free will.
This sounds rather sad, I know. But then I met Nick, and everything was easy and wonderful and as the months passed I just couldn't believe he still wanted to be with me.
I would constantly ask him, "Aren't you tired of me?" Or "You're not tired of me yet?" And even "I just cannot believe you're not sick of me yet."
One night, we took a walk around the local park. It was still warm from the hot summer day, and gnats swarmed us every time we walked under a lamp post. But this didn't seem to deter us, since giving into the bugs meant going home and going home meant not being together until the next day. Ah, love.
I don't remember what we were talking about, but, as had become my habit, I ended up asking some version of "Are you tired of me yet?"
My husband isn't easily ruffled. He's probably one of the calmest people I know and rarely ever gets upset with me. This was the first time in our relationship that I actually saw a little bit of frustration in him, and he said, "Will you quit asking me that? I'm not, and I don't plan on being tired of you anytime soon."
*pauses to swoon*
Isn't he the best?
Well, I stopped asking. But eight years later, sometimes I still can't believe he's not tired of me yet! My husband taught me a really important lesson that night: I was letting my insecurity get in the way of something wonderful. And I hate to admit that I still do that sometimes, especially in my writing.
Sometimes I still have that urge to ask my crit partners, my agent, my editor, "Are you tired of me yet?" I still have this fear that my book deal was some kind of fluke, that I've not lived up to expectation, and that, worst of all, people just don't like me but won't own up to it. How sad is that? And rude, too, since if I really believe that I'm essentially accusing all the people I know of being big fat liars. Which they aren't. And I shouldn't project my issues on them.
I've learned not to believe these lies my brain tells me, but at times this insecurity still impacts the way I act and work. It makes me reluctant to write. It makes me question the merit of my work. And it stops me from having fun, which is probably the worst tragedy. Writing can be so fun—I hate when I make it an ordeal.
I guess I'm mostly writing this post for myself, as a reminder to stop with the "Are you tired of me yet?" and to just enjoy my work. Doubt can be so crippling in a creative profession, and I really don't have time to cripple myself and angst. I have a book to finish. And edits to do. I'm determined to approach both with confidence.