Foreword: I meant for this post to be a celebration of a great review that I got, but it turned into so much more. Apologies in advance if you feel the need to barf.
I don’t often post about my life-long friends, Confidence and Paranoia: those two personified parts of me, that exist inside of me, telling me I’m great or telling me I’m crap. Yep – just like that episode of Red Dwarf (if you don’t know Red Dwarf, you should know Red Dwarf – it’s funnier than funny. If you don’t like Red Dwarf, I’m worried that your sense of humour may have fallen out of your buttocks. I’m sorry, but someone had to tell you).
They’re still there, of course – Confidence and Paranoia. They are right now meandering around my crazy little brain like the critters that they are. They are still fighting and there is still plenty of gooly kicking but they are quieter about it now, as though they don’t want to disturb me so much. Or perhaps they are just as loud as they were before, but everything else at the moment is louder – like the whirlwind of self-publishing and the push to grow a following (and on that note, thanks for being here folks!).
Every now and then, though, one or the other of them shouts through.
“Hey,” Paranoia will say. “Stop telling people about your book, or that you’re a ‘writer’. They’re laughing at you, ya know? You’re a fool.” And that’ll be that. I’ll sit in a corner feeling sorry for myself and no amount of cajoling from Confidence will pull me out of it.
Not right now though. Right now, it’s Confidence that’s screaming at the top of his voice, and tap-dancing on my little endorphins pump (because you know that’s how the brain works, right? Little pumps and valves and bellows, with lots of little creatures to control them and kettle whistles sounding whenever you’ve reached boiling point, right?) It’s Confidence who is surging with energy and joy and in turn, that’s surging through me and I can’t lie – I like it. I like it a lot.
So why, you may be asking, is Confidence speaking so loud now? Or maybe you’re not asking, but I’m going to tell you anyway. The answer is people. That’s why Confidence is on such a high. People and the things that people do and say.
There is a young girl with whom I work (day job, because there always is one), and she has been wonderfully supportive and encouraging. At only 19 years old, she is possibly the only person I’ve spoken to about all this (at least, the only one who isn’t family or a ‘virtual’ friend) who doesn’t make me feel like I’m doing something really daft. She empowers me in the most unusual way and what’s wonderful about it is that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even realise she’s doing it. It’s just her, it’s just her nature, and that is a wonderful thing.
I’ve met a man too, (not in that way, thank you very muchly!) who has been an awesome support. He’s been through the self-publish process and his knowledge is broad (vast, especially compared to mine). And although he’s a ‘rival author’ (if there is such a thing – and given my small experience of this world, I’m not sure there is), he has been wonderful in giving me advice and support right through this whole process, from formatting my book to promoting myself. He’s shared everything I’ve written and has even read my book. He enjoyed it too, and left it a great review.
Then there’s my mum, who is tireless in her efforts to help me and who, I’m sure, gets frustrated with me sometimes (although she won’t admit it), when I send her something urgent to proofread at 11pm, or send her page after page after page of pieces to read. I know she’s my mum, so her vision is tinted with rose, but her dedication and willingness to help with little or no personal gain is awe-inspiring. I hope to, one day, be more like her, to be that person for someone else (not as a mum, of course, but as a dedicated follower of…er…someone?). The rest of my family too: my dad, my brother, the cousin who did my cover art, and all the others too – I’d be lost without them, and not just in terms of my writing.
My husband, finally, my dedicated, boastful, proud husband who tells everyone and anyone about my work and without whom, I’m not sure I’d have got anywhere. He pushes me and believes in me in a way that I never thought possible, and it is this that drives me to keep going, even when that nasty paranoia of mine is stamping his feet. He is my peace, he is my calm, he is the buoy I grab for stability when I’m washed out to sea. He also makes me laugh a lot, and that’s worth millions.
So you see, as soppy as Confidence can make me (and believe me, ‘soppy’ isn’t something that often happens to me), he also shows me the support that’s already there – the pillars I’ve got to fall back on and the wave that’s pushing me forward, and I’m grateful in ways that I could never put into words. He’s also squirting lemon juice into Paranoia’s eyes and giggling like a gleeful schoolgirl. He’s a little vindictive when it comes to Paranoia.
So to those I’ve mentioned, to those I haven’t, and to those I’m yet to meet: thank you, from the bottom of my soppy, Confidence soaked heart. You’ve restored my faith in humanity.