It's the opposite of selfishness, and selfishness is my biggest fault. It translates to "my needs are more important than yours." It hurts my heart to admit to feeling that way sometimes. A lot of the time.
Sometimes being selfish is a necessity, specifically with time - fighting for writing days, trying to protect deadlines, keeping news to myself until I can share it - all those things are required for me to meet my professional obligations.
But what about those days when I'd just rather be alone, watch Doctor Who episodes on Netflix, or actually read a book for enjoyment? Take myself to a play or the museum or for a pedicure? Doing these things would take me away from my family, and they already think I'm a ghost. They get the shaft on a regular basis.
So do my friends. I'd love to be able to have more coffee dates and dinners, talk on the phone about the price of asparagus at Costco, go to movies, or even do things that don't require me to leave the house, like manuscript crits or cold reads. I drop balls all the time - important ones - usually causing me to feel very ashamed. I should.
Further she goes down the rabbit hole ....
Truthfully, it's not all the "things to do" in my life that are the problem. It's my poor management of them, and the things I allow to overtake me instead. It seems the same things that feed my creativity, or the results of those things, are often the enemies of generosity.
Like most writers, I'm a little paranoid and a lot neurotic.
My paranoia isn't the clinical condition (which is serious and deserves attention), it's simply a result of focusing on myself. What do people think of my book? What do they think of me? Did I just do something really awkward? What's my Amazon ranking? (It doesn't matter, it still doesn't matter, probably, and Amazon rankings are made of lies.)
If I were to focus my attentions outwardly, would I have all those questions? I think if I were to live generously, find ways to encourage and love other people instead of myself, my version of paranoia would fade away.
However, when it comes to the neurotic thing, I'd like to buy what Carl Jung is selling. I believe, in its most positive form, neurosis can be used to define why a lot of creatives become artists.
"What in the world is the value and meaning of a neurosis, this most useless and pestilent curse of humanity? To be neurotic – what good can that do? ... I myself have known more than one person who owed his whole usefulness and reason for existence to a neurosis, which prevented all the worst follies in his life and forced him to a mode of living that developed his valuable potentialities. These might have been stifled had not the neurosis, with iron grip, held him to the place where he belonged." ~ Carl Jung
See why I want to roll with Carl?
I don't have answers, this is just something I think about a lot. I wonder if other writers experience the same things, or if my very nature is so flawed that I should be quarantined from the general public. But then I think hiding is just another version of selfishness.
I write about relationships and humanity and love. Will I ever find a way to balance these things in my own life? What steps do I make toward living generously, with no agenda?
Tomorrow I'll find a really good LOLcat picture to put up. Thank you for bearing with me today.