Beginner's Heart

anubis2 Rarely do I feel inadequate, like I don’t measure up. If that sounds overly confident, I don’t mean to. It’s just that I don’t normally spend a lot of time comparing myself to others.

From a very early age I knew my life wasn’t like most American kids, so while I may have wished I had a different life sometimes, I didn’t feel I was unworthy, or ‘less than.’ Different, yes. But not inferior.

Still, when I rounded a corner in the Cairo museum many years ago, and saw this papyrus, I knew I would buy the copy hanging in our living room. Anubis — Lord of the Underworld, more or less — is judging the souls of the recently dead, weighing each soul’s heart against truth, shown by a feather. Light-heartedness was a definite plus, if you didn’t want to be devoured by Ammit.

Which is a longish way of getting to my afternoon yesterday.

Digression: Each time writers enter a journal contest, we pay (well, almost always) a submission fee. This helps underwrite the journal’s expenses for the contest, up to & including any cash prize(s). It also gives you a subscription to the journal. Which is a great way to learn more about contemporary writing.

Ammit, devourer of the dead. via Wikipedia

Ammit, devourer of the dead. via Wikipedia

But there can be a downside to reading a journal you just submitted your best work to: falling into the OMG! What the heck was I thinking, that I should submit here??? abyss.

Sigh. Who knew there was a journal that inherited the legacy of Ammit, devourer of the unworthy??

I don’t really believe I’m inadequate, and this is a journal that once accepted a much earlier piece of mine. But through a series of missed connections, the piece never ran, and I ultimately placed it elsewhere. All’s well, etc. 🙂 So I should, I know, let it go, and be glad I didn’t see the stunning piece FIRST, right?

Because let me tell you — it’s even odds I would NOT have felt I … well, measured up. All this angst, even though I know that by almost anyone’s metric, I’m a more than competent writer, even a prize-winning published writer. And yet we all have blind spots.

A very dear friend just lost her job. Not her fault, although you’d never know that to hear her describe it. Stupid employment protocols w/ noooo flexibility. Which means her previous employer is out a dedicated, hard-working, very knowledgeable employee. And my friend feels inadequate.

When I hear a story like that, I’m embarrassed to confess my own piddly insecurities. Which is very good for my beginner’s heart. Did I mention I’m glad I didn’t see the great published pieces first? 🙂