My writing landscape looks different than it did a few weeks ago. I have less and more to complain about. I left for Cuba. The Huffington Post accepted a piece. The NYT Motherlode Blog exposed my nudity. Things went from there.
My set of complaints, concerns and worries (all part of the same family) has now shifted planes from How? Whether? and When? To How many? How often? How much? The crossover questions remain the same. Is it any good? Do they like me?
I got paid for two pieces. Despite the fact I never made the Ontario Government’s $100k + Sunshine List, the $350 I recently earned is not quite cutting it. But it’s a start.
I have nothing to complain about. I made a choice. I dove into something I suspected I’d love. I was right. I love it. People around the world now know a) that in the privacy of my own home I don’t bother covering my vagina (ya I knew it was a vulva before someone left the comment, and b) more or less what it looks like. I don’t know when making a living became about money. I’m making a great living. Hopefully cash will follow.
But let me complain anyway. Despite the flash of fame I’m busily fanning with frequent free articles, there is always something to complain about. It’s one of the things that makes life worth living. I suspect I’d have little, if anything, to write about if I wasn’t allowed to complain.
I consider myself something of a professional complainer, and an exhibitionist as one commenter aptly pointed out. "I don't see why people are branding her a pervert. Exhibitionist,obviously (she's a blogger... exhibitionism is basically a requirement), but pervert is beyond harsh."
It’s possible that complaining - sometimes constructive, sometimes less so - is a form of exhibitionism. I’d argue that exposing one’s whining, insecurity, second guessing, aimless wanderings, and spinning out of control-complaints and anxiety is more revelatory than say, describing your vulva.
Every time I submit a piece to Huffington Post it goes like this.
Is this a good topic?
“Mom, hi, do you and Dad have time to listen?...It’s good? Are you sure?...great.”
“Gael do you have a few minutes?”
Send to Ron for a onceover.
“Hi Bren, are you busy?... Right now? I should send it right now? Ok I will.”
“Wen, can I read you…”
Exhale. Press send.
Why haven’t I heard anything yet? Don’t they want it? Maybe I sent it off too soon.” When rejected it’s – Urgh! They so don’t know a good thing when they see it. Followed quickly by It was crap.
If accepted it’s - Why hasn’t anyone liked it yet? Shared it yet? Tweeted it yet. Why did so many people like my first one but not this one?
Exhausting right? But it’s second nature. Complaining is like lube. It keeps my life well-oiled. It’s something to do between activities. Some people smoke. I complain. I’m not even sure I mean it all. It just slips out. “This kitchen’s a mess” “Are you sure you want to wear those pants with that top?” “I’ll never get through this paperwork.” “Will anyone ever give me a grant?”
I can’t imagine life without it. Daily, I set complaint seeds to germinate in worry, then add anxiety and self-consciousness and watch them sprout. Sometimes I steal others’. Is this within the range of normal, just more externalized, or am I severely complainy?
While I do wonder what a complaint-free day might offer in the way of spare time, I suspect a lobotomy is the only way to find out. And anyway, what would I write about?