Trying to See My Work Differently — and why Stories Contain Entire Worlds

TW: mention of ED recovery and disability

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this. That I am my own worst critic. My own worst doubter. My own worst bully.

When someone tells me something positive about my work. My stories or my books or my short films or my art. I smile and I thank them, but internally, I’m already staring at the negative comments.

My brain selectively goes: “ah yes. The compliments cannot be true. The only truth is the one person saying something negative about my art. Because secretly, I am trash. I knew it.”

My worst fears are confirmed, because I’m confirming a low feeling of self-worth. Imposter syndrome, or whatever the proper terminology is for feeling that you are not worth as much as you should be. For believing the world when it tells you that you simply cannot and gives you BS explanations why.

I grew up with an ED that hit its low as a teenager. It impacted my health: mental and physical. My feeling of self-worth related to a number on a scale and my body is much better now. I try to see my body for what it can do, despite any illnesses or disabilities that I’ve been reckoning with lately, and I thank my body for hosting my consciousness. The thing that makes me: me. Recovery isn’t a perfect journey, but it’s better. Accepting my disabilities and working to ease symptoms isn’t perfect– but it’s better.

I’d like to think my journey with my creations might be similar. In some ways, they are extensions of me, or idealizations or fantasies or what have you. In accepting my body and my disabilities, My gender and sexuality. I accept my outer self. In refusing to accept my creations, my creativity, I am abandoning my inner world that I’ve created.

Like I was at my lowest, when my ED told me that my body was worthless When I struggled with misdiagnosis for my disability and felt hurt and gaslit. I feel that lately, I denigrate my creations and only believe the harshest critiques or outright hatred because, internally, I am not fighting for my creations’ worth. My books. The stories I tell. I ignore the positive messages in favor of the single negative.

The stories I have to tell are not enough.

Surely, I have no stories to tell…

Do I?

And it’s scary to create. Heck, it’s scary just writing these words now and opening up to the world. But, like I am trying to recover and thank my body for hosting me. To accept my disabilities. I am also fighting to accept that the stories I create, reflections of my inner world no matter if the mirror might be a bit dusty or distorted at times before I polish them or edit them. They are worthy too. My creations give me a canvas on which to write entire worlds.

And that is a worthy thing.

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