mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

What effect do you have on others and do you give a shit?

I’ve recently been taking more chances, I stepped out of my comfort zone and pitched a few articles for a mainly mens site as they advertised for writers. The way it works is they have a forum, with different threads and areas for different stages of pitch and editorial. You post your pitch to the thread and then a moderator or administrator responds with feedback on how it could be improved and then it gets discussed at their meeting and either more feedback is given or it moved forward for publishing.

The problem with this forum format is that every man and his dog has access to your pitch, and there are some heavy egos in play in this place. They have a “karma” system where people give and take karma depending on whether they like what you say, I’ve been a member for just over a week and i’m currently minus 7 karma, haha! It’s all because I dared be a female with an opinion. I made a pitch, albeit not my best work but I was just having a crack, and a few douchebags jumped all over me. They were really harsh about it and basically were begging for moderator approval themselves. The fact is, they aspire to be a moderator and feel they should give ‘advice’ when the fact is they haven’t even had any articles published themselves. Crazy right? One of them came in and told me the title sucked, the material is overdone and my sources were shit. I said hey, that’s pretty harsh and a shitstorm erupted.

Since then, there have been some lovely people comment on the post and some really truly terrible people comment on the post, and it makes me wonder – how much do we think/care about how what we say and do affects other people?

My main issue with the site was that the “advice” i was being given was done so in a belittling fashion, he then claimed that he was just a writer trying to discuss ideas with another writer but that isn’t what happened. It’s about their egos, and let’s remember how hard it is to create something and put your ideas out there AT ALL, it’s horrifying lol and to have people be SO negative about it is just unnecessary.

I’ve noticed most people tend to fall into one of two categories – some people are self aware and think about how they affect other people, and genuinely care. This is not to say they don’t mess up sometimes and hurt other people, but generally they tend to be mindful of people’s feelings and keep a track of how they make people feel. And then there’s the people who have self esteem issues and feel it necessary to bring others down to make themselves feel big and strong. They come in swinging their big opinions round like a dick in the wind and make sure they let you know that they’re better than you somehow.

How many people do you know that are the latter? It’s not something that’s specific to men, women do it just as much but in this particular scenario I’ve been dealing primarily with men. It’s their boys club and I’m a crazy emotional bitch for standing up for myself.

I often muse over why we can’t all just get along, I’ve written quite a few posts about this. I truly believe if we are all a little more self aware and try to care just a little more about others, than the world would be so much better than it is. Sure, we all have our issues, I’m bipolar, i have social anxiety and i was abused as a kid. I have self esteem issues and don’t feel good enough sometimes, but I try not to take that out on other people, i try not to make others feel small to make myself feel better.

Maybe you’re someone who does this but doesn’t realize, that’s why i think it’s important for all of us to take a step back sometimes and just think about how we act, how we treat people and what motivates us. That’s really key, what’s behind our actions? It’s what i’ve been using to try and combat my bipolar, sometimes it’s hard to draw a line in the sand and know what behaviours are mine and what behaviours are stemming from the bipolar, so i step back and analyze what and why, try to figure out if i’m being reasonable or if it’s my condition acting on my behalf. If we all did this, we would make more of a positive impact than a negative one, and just imagine how much nicer life would be if our interactions were more positive than negative.

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Doing things that scare you

I’ve spent a lot of my life making grand plans, wanting to do things but never quite doing them, or doing half of something. I place a lot of the blame on my mental illness, for years I was told I suffered fromĀ  “chronic depression and anxiety” but a year and something ago I was diagnosed as bipolar. So I do have a tendency to start something while manic and then trail off when a depressive episode hits, this has happened to me more times than I can count because when a depressive episode hits I can barely get out of bed or go to the shops to buy milk, but when I’m manic I feel like I can take on anything and often do.

So I’m 32 years old, I have half of two bachelor degrees, a few certificates not worth much and am currently working on another degree. I’ve been writing on and off since I was a child, starting mainly with short stories and poetry, then songs and poetry and essays. I recently completed a manuscript and showed it to a friend who now wants to pass it to their literary agent, something that scared the shit out of me. I’ve also been pitching ideas for cracked.com – not a site i read all that often but a friend showed me a link to writing for them and i thought it would be an interesting challenge. Since then I’ve been researching freelance writing jobs online, I’ve submitted a piece to a celebrity gossip site and had an offer to write for them. I did it more to see if i could, it only pays $25 an article and I’m not that invested in celebrity gossip lol but i wanted to know if i could.

I think when you have a mental illness so much of your energy goes into just coping, just existing, that the thought of putting ourselves out there, opening ourselves to possible rejection on a mass scale becomes a ridiculous fantasy. But I’ve decided I need to push myself, I need to do things that make me uncomfortable, otherwise another decade will pass and I will have little to show for it. I enjoy writing immensely, it brings me such joy and peace and gives me an outlet for the abundance of thoughts and emotions that are racing through my mind at any given moment, so why not push myself and maybe make some money at this? I know I’m not crap, but I also know I have a long way ahead of me, that I’m not yet the best writer I can be, but the only way I’ll get there is by doing it more and more, by experiencing trial and rejection and different types of writing and formats.

If you have a passion, I implore you to go for it. Don’t believe that success is for other people but not for you, I believed that for so long but now I realize, it CAN be for me, I just have to TRY. I have to be willing to accept the good and the bad and genuinely put myself out there. Follow your passion, restore hope to your life and really try. So what if you don’t become the best of the best, at least you’ll have given it a shot. When you’re old and grey do you think you’ll have more regret over the things you tried and didn’t succeed at than the things you never bothered to try at all? I have a feeling it will be the latter. I also know that a part of having a mental illness is accepting a fate of misery, but it doesn’t have to be that way, if you do something you love you’d be surprised at the effect it can have on your well-being in general.

So I’ve decided to let my friend show my manuscript to his literary agent, if nothing else I’ll get some helpful feedback. It’s scary but exciting, and I’m proud of myself for finally trying. That itself improves my mood greatly, and hey, if I get negative feedback it will make me feel shitty, but that will pass, I’ll pick myself up and try again.

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