Nerves jumped in my stomach, springing off the walls into intricate flips.
I squashed the doubt threatening to take over as cyber silence stretched, holding its breath for the awaited email.
I threw myself into final revisions for another piece, a fictional one, the contest deadline looming at midnight. I rode the butterflies, siphoning their energy – my joy in writing growing with each passing minute.
It was a good piece. A great one. If I just make it to auditions, I will know I’m doing the right thing.
I will be a writer.
A flash caught my eye, a pop-up in the lower right corner of my screen, the subject clear: Listen to Your Mother submission.
Anxiety seized me, wrapped in terror.
My hands trembled as I clicked on the email.
“It was such a pleasure to read your wonderful essay. We both really appreciated the sentiments in your story. Unfortunately, however, we did not select your piece for LTYM this year.”
Doubt chased away the hope, the fleeting confidence bludgeoned by my inner critic.
I looked at my fictional piece, so close to submission.
What am I doing? Why did I ever think I had a shot? My husband is right: I don’t have a chance in hell of being an author.
I still hit submit, but only because I’d already paid for the entry.
The anticipation and hope, the thrill of possible success as I clicked on “send”?
A dear friend tried to console me, going so far as to say, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.”
It turned the volume down on the voice, though the berating words still rang clear.
The relief was short, as less than a week passed and I joined our local bloggers in our monthly gathering.
I listened, as one by one, each shared they had been selected for the audition round.
They were good enough.
I pasted a smile on my face and nodded, happy for them while a part of me withered, dying inside.
One truth sharpened, crisp in my mind: I was not good enough.
* * *
Jon Acuff recently urged a room of writers, photographers, and entreupreneurs:“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
This week we’d like you to write about a time you found yourself comparing yourself, unfavorably, with someone else. Focus on how the comparison affected you, negatively or positively.
Come back Tuesday to link up and share your work. Word limit is 400 words.