At times, I find my self confidence in need of a boost. Right now, I’m faced with one of those times. I’m questioning my ability to reach people, to touch them with my writing. I question it because I sometimes don’t feel like I’m making any strides. Am I making a difference for someone? Is anyone really even reading my blog? I’m not sure because, even though my stats tell me I get a steady stream of visitors each day, I don’t get comments much. Heck, I don’t even get any accolades. But then again, even if I did, I would go running for the nearest stone to hide under because I’ve never been able to take any compliments from anyone.
Granted, my work hours are such that I only have evenings and weekends to keep up with social media efforts. I can’t tweet during work hours because I don’t have access and I would lose my job if I did. I don’t have time to visit anyone’s blogs, so keeping up with and developing relationships with other bloggers has been nearly impossible. Though I am a strong writer, I am not like some of the other writers out there who write so brilliantly that I get goose bumps from reading their work. Writers such as the ones who were recognized by Katherine Stone as the Top 20 PPD bloggers of 2011. Writing is a craft, and these women have mastered it. I salute these women for their honest, open, beautiful and inspirational writing.
I saw a post today on Facebook from a friend of mine. He does what I wish I could do. He saves lives. He works in an emergency room. He is able to deal with what I can’t deal with. Urgent situations while staying calm and collected. Seeing very traumatic injuries while not letting it get the better of you. Going to this on a day-to-day basis and not let past negative experiences keep you from doing your job. In fact, the comment I left for him earlier today said “Only certain people can handle these situations on a day-to-day basis. Thank God for people like you. I certainly would not be able to.” And what was his response? “Ivy, everyone has gifts. I admire the work you do.” To which I said “Oh, pleeeeaaaaase.” And his response: “IVY! A book! A blog! Helping….women! That’s a gift.”
Sometimes my friend can be a bit sarcastic; hence, the words left out of the last sentence. Anyway, getting back to what I was saying before. My self esteem–or lack thereof–is such that I find myself struggling with keeping it from tanking, be it at work, in social situations, and with the work I do outside of work (i.e., my blog, my book). It doesn’t help that, culturally speaking, I already have the inclination to be, um, modest. I am a 1st generation Chinese (1st generation living in the U.S.) who can speak Mandarin fluently and possess 2 out of the 3 main attributes of the typical Chinese individual (honesty and humility). Humility will not, unfortunately, help me to get copies of my book sold (and in so doing help spread awareness of the most common complication of childbirth that is still so misunderstood/undertreated and stigmatized all around the world), so I need to really ramp up my speaking skills and fear of public speaking…. and quick. I need to do radio shows, book signings, book readings, etc. But I’m just one big scaredy cat. 😦
What’s the 3rd attribute of a typical Chinese individual? It’s keeping one’s emotions and thoughts to onself. Here’s where I part ways from the typical Chinese individual. I don’t keep my emotions and thoughts to myself. I put all–or rather, practically all–my thoughts out there on Facebook. I blog. I have a book that shares all my thoughts and experiences while suffering from PPD. I keep telling myself that a PPD book written by a Chinese woman could potentially appeal—and appeal strongly—to audiences all over the world. Why? Well, first of all, PPD is an illness experienced by women worldwide. Second, it’s a fairly big deal for ANY woman to share their PPD story, let alone a woman of Asian ethnicity, since people of Asian ethnicity are not particularly prone to or fond of speaking up or out. They tend to keep their emotions bottled up and thoughts and experiences to themselves. I could be starting a trend with Asian folks….that would be SO AWESOME! 🙂
I really need all the luck I can get at this point…to leave my self esteem issues and humility behind and adopt the voice behind “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood,” a voice that Jane Honikman, Founder of Postpartum Support International describes as being “strong, loud, and clear…..and through the written words on each page you can hear her roar.”