Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Mud in My I Makes It Hard To Be Seen

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I am setting out to tackle one of the biggest impediments to attaining my goals: The childhood training that emphasized self-abasement.

The fundamentalist sect I was raised in was obsessed with removing the 'I' out of the child.  There were few if any exertions of will in a child that were not labeled as willful and thus anathema.  Our Sunday School lessons were rife with stories demonstrating pride going before a fall and worksheets displaying a big fat 'I' in the middle of words thus:


That last one, 'chief' was not aimed at Amer-Indians but at the concept of being 'first' or 'leader' or 'in charge' as there was room for only one 'head' on a body and that was Christ.

Though none of those worksheets ever had these words on them I could not help noticing:


I found many more such words that escape my memory at the moment.  It is possible that I had a peculiar temperament that took analogies too literally and extrapolated them too far.   However it happened, it became hard for me to even use the word 'I'.

Add to that the further indoctrination against women having a voice or identity outside of 'daughter', 'wife' or 'mother'.  If her opinion differed from her father's or her husband's she was expected to defer and keep silent.  Working outside the home once there was a child was strongly discouraged.

Women and girls who dressed or talked in ways that set them apart or invited attention were likened to harlots.

Having this ingrained in me from infancy makes it very difficult for me to pursue my dream of being a published author.

It also made it hard to seek employment.  How does one write a resume or conduct oneself in a job interview without using the word 'I'?  Forget about submitting manuscripts to publishers as that is blatant strutting.

When I was introduced to the Internet in 1996, I immediately saw the potential for some kind of work-from-home income that would allow me to use my skill set in the controlled environment of home that my visual impairment required.  But every idea and scheme I came up with required that dreaded self-promotion and I could never seem to get over that hurdle.

Self: the other four letter word.

Yes, I put up my first web page in 1997 to display my stories, poems, personal essays and book reviews.  But I did nothing to call attention to it.  I started this blog in 2004 and it was years before I started doing things that drew traffic.  On purpose anyway.

Over the last several years I've been reading obsessively about on-line entrepreneurship, self-publishing, and marketing.  I've followed several aspiring authors as they blogged their journey to success, cheering them on and feeling proud of them when they 'made it'.  But I still struggle with taking the next necessary steps to putting my own self on the line.

That is about to change.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a Writer's Digest Partner offering an incredibly low price for the AWAI copywriting course.  I immediately knew that I needed to do this.  I forwarded it to my husband and shared with him my thoughts on how this skill would be useful in both my own self-publishing endeavors and the online consulting business he hopes to launch even if I didn't end up with other clients.

But one of the perks of the AWAI program is access to a job board where clients come looking for AWAI grads and a group support system that includes students, staff and alumni.  Ready-made networking!  And it would sure help our current situation if I could generate income from other clients.

My hope was that the course itself coupled with the community support might help me find a way to get that mud out of my I and clear a path to success for me.

My husband agreed and he paid for it.  I gained access to the member area and the course materials early this week and have been getting orientated.

Stay tuned as I share my journey toward self-fulfillment.  I have at least one foot on the path now.

I welcome any thoughts on how I might go about overriding that childhood training that makes 'self' feel like a dirty word.

2 tell me a story:

Chris Loehmer Kincaid 8/25/2013 6:05 AM  

The ideology that was forced on you as a child is horrible. Did those people ever realize that there is an "I" in the middle of Christ?
As a Christian, I agree with the whole idea of putting God first, but since He is a loving Father, He wants us to be happy and He does want our star to shine.
I am so pleased that you are going after your dreams. Best of luck with it. You are someone important and you are special. Shine!

Shan Jeniah Burton 8/29/2013 8:59 AM  


Although it was not religiously based in my case, the family culture I grew up within was rife with intentional shaming and humiliation intended to "keep us in our places".

Hooray for your recent revelations! Hooray for claiming yourself, and your gifts. Hooray for healing that can now begin!

I am spiritual rather than religious,but I believe that, since there is only one of each of us, it's up to each of us not to waste ourselves, hide ourselves, or belittle ourselves.

By offering yourself to the world, you are giving us a gift we can't find anywhere else - YOU!

I am honored to be even a tiny little part of your grand journey.

Sending you so many hugs and so much gentleness as you atlast explore you!

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