I am, ninety-nine percent* of the time, a pretty confident person overall.

Though I am not good at everything, of course (who is?), I recognize that I have talent in certain areas and choose to emphasize those rather than showcase the set of personal skills which I consider to be lackluster.

Some of my best talents are listed here in no particular order:

1. Mothering.
2. Organizing and executing theme parties/events.
3. Making paper notecards.
4. Finding the perfect gift.
5. Arranging flowers.
6. Baking (and decorating) cakes.
7. Giving advice.
8. Listening.
9. Planning vacations.
10. Being a good friend.
11. Building things out of cardboard.
12. Writing.

Ah yes, writing.

Yesterday, for the first time since I sat in my high school English class**, someone made me question my ability as a writer. Without going into specifics here, I can tell you that a small combination of events mixed together to provide a kind of faulty chemistry experiment that subsequently exploded all over me, leaving me sobbing, upset, and with only one desire: to get under the covers and curl up into the fetal position for about a week. I was shaken to the core, and it didn’t feel good. In fact, it felt downright awful.

Though the speed with which my personal downward spiral accelerated shouldn’t surprise anyone–especially me, what with the “Go big or go home” attitude I carry in my pocket–I was curled up in a ball well within the speed of light.

At the risk of sounding overly conceited (please don’t take it that way), questioning my own writing ability is foreign territory for me. Sure, many of the posts in my archives here would never be mistaken for masterpieces, but some (the ones I really spend time with, simmering and stirring before presenting them for your consumption) are quite good. When I write my six- to eight-per-year feature magazine articlesfor which I am paid well–I am happy with the end results, as are my editors. I can write a mean letter (and by “mean”, I mean “excellent”), whether it’s for business or personal reasons. I write material for work consistently. I am proud of the spectrum of my writing as a whole, and I am blessed to receive great feedback from those who read it.

Yesterday, after the walls closed in, I spoke with four great ladies, one of whom had to talk me “off the ledge” as I cried into her ear (Sorry, Carol!). I not only felt better afterwards because they pulled me up***, but also started thinking about how unfortunate it was that I allowed one person to knock me down and shake me to my core.

One person.

The fact of the matter is this: no matter what I–or any of us–do, pleasing everyone just isn’t an option. Having enough confidence in our own abilities, whatever they may be, is the first step in getting others to have confidence in us as well, but accepting that not everybody will follow along is the key to sanity and survival.

That’s what will have to work for me, anyway, and I’m on it.

*Okay, maybe ninety-six percent.
**A long, long time ago.
***That’s what good friends do, you know.


©2011 Suburban Scrawl


  • Tara R.

    I am so sorry someone made you feel this way. But, I'm glad these wonderful women were there to build you back up.

  • Heather

    I am so glad that you have great friends to help surround you in times of crisis like this.

    ((((hugs))))) to you girlie.


  • Ri, the Music Savvy Mom

    My take on this?

    The "one" is full of shit. You're a fabulous writer. The "four" are clearly brilliant, and I love them, whoever they are. And, the "one" would likely not have affected you so deeply had you not been running Mach 10 with your hair on fire for the past, oh… couple of YEARS?

    Go easy on yourself, cupcake. You rock and you know it. Have a beer, take a nap and when you wake up, remember the awesome that is Melisa. (Even if you ARE missing an "s"…) 😉

  • NYCity Mama

    Baby–You can cry in my ear anytime, though I hope you don't have to many reasons to cry. Ever. Love ya.

  • Jill

    Sorry you had that experience, although it appears that the final result was eye opening and empowering. Kinda like last week when i had a teenage girl in outpatient programming tell me I'm a "terrible therapist.". Ouch!

  • Michelle

    Amen! And you know I mean that. No fetal balls for you. Bad bad editor, but we said that about her months ago, so this (again) should be no surprise to you. I do think you should hold onto her edits for awhile. Maybe save them for a burn party after your book goes platinum.

  • Momo Fali

    Yes, that is what good friends do. I'm sorry I missed you. You have pulled me up so many times that I have lost count.

    And, if anyone ever questions you again, in any way, I will hurt them.

  • Lucy

    Tell me who made you cry. I'll kick some ass!

    Seriously though, don't let one person take away the things you know about yourself. And that the rest of us (minus one asshat) know about you!

  • k a t i e

    I second EXACTLY what Lucy and Ri said – and be so thankful you've got those four (and many, many more!) who've got your back any time. Hope you're feeling A OK today big sis XXX

  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    You sound much better today and that is totally a good thing. That other "one," well, I want to squeeze her like a zit.

  • Patty @ A Day in My NYC

    I just need a name & an address I'm would love to go all "New York" that person. I was a sorority girl you know and I made those pledges cry 😉

    I hope you are at least smiling at my silliness.

    You are the most genuine, loving, brilliant person and writer I know. Your words touch people. Never let anyone determine your worth because you are so wonderful and I'm so upset someone made you feel that way.

    I hope today was a better day!
    I love you! {Hugs}

  • Melissa

    Huh! I've always thought that your writing was good. It sounds like your "one" person might need a little attitude adjustment or a lesson in relating with others.

    I guess I must not be editor material but I know what I like…and I like your writing.

    ((hugs)) my friend!

  • Christina

    I'm my own worst critic, so the opinion of one person affects me more than it should.

    But you're right – it was just one person, and it's OK if one person in thousands doesn't like your writing. Those are still pretty damn good stats.

    Glad your support network was able to step in and remind you of what really matters. Friends are great at making it all better, aren't they?

  • Heather E

    Hey. Sorry I a.) babbled on about my in law dramas and didn't even know this happened on the day that this happened. b.) just now am commenting on this. and c.) I need to tell you that your mothering skills ARE superb as you have done awesome in helping me out here as of late and you are an incredible writer. I love you to pieces and I am SO GLAD THAT YOU ARE IN MY LIFE.

    xo xo ox

  • john cave osborne

    you know when that guy cuts you off in rush hour traffic and you freak out at him? and honk your horn? and wonder who in the world that guy thinks he is? while you use the f-word as a gerund?

    reacting like that (and, by the way, i'm not saying that you do) gives that clown WAY more power than he deserves.

    same thing here. screw that woman…

  • LceeL

    Your work is outstanding. Editors, at times, would seem to need to justify their jobs – that's the ONLY reason I can think of for some of the inane and insane things I've seen Editors say.

    You are an excellent writer, thinker, and person. Don't let one idiot dent your image of yourself and your capabilities.

  • DaddysFishBowl

    Who is this person, you go ahead and point them out and me and my boys (by boys I mean Tre & Ty) will rough em up real good!!!!

    No but seriously, you're an excellent writer. As many others clearly believe so as well. Keep doing what you're doing.

  • Otter Thomas

    Sorry you had a bad experience. I think you're great. Sounds like you have the perfect attitude about it after you got over the hurt. Keep your head up and follow your own advice. You'll do great.