I have the bad habit of comparing myself to others and more often than not finding myself lacking, especially when it comes to writing.
I read a post on The Kill Zone blog the other day about writers and their inner voice. P.J. Parrish mentioned this interesting fact:
“Many writers are unable to “see” the faces of their protagonists. The main character often registers as a blank – or, in one case, pixelated like a censored photograph.”
I was extremely excited to hear this. Most of the time, okay all of the time, I have to concentrate hard in order to visualize my characters when I talk to them. I thought for sure this was a mark of an amateur, never-to-reach-fandom writer. (Yes, I know. I roll my eyes quite often at my insecurities.)
This reminded me of a situation that happened my first year in college. I was attending a community college, still living at home. My social status had not changed much from high school.
It was second semester, first day of classes. My heart pounded as I waited for the teacher, praying he or she wouldn’t make us introduce ourselves. Then in walked a girl from my first semester first aid class. We’d been paired together for most of the semester. Our relationship had not changed to the BFF stage or even the F one, so I was surprised, and happy, when she raised her hand and waved at me. I waved back, smiling widely, glancing down at the empty seat next to me.
It was exciting. Had I finally made a friend? Maybe we would go to the movies this weekend.
And then she turned into the row directly in front of me and sat down next to someone else.
She hadn’t been waving at me.
Cheeks burning, I pretended great interest in my empty notebook while silently berating myself for being an idiot. By mid-class, my red hot face had faded and I risked a I glanced at the back of the girl’s head. She was leaning forward in her seat, listening to the teacher, the top of her white underwear peeking above her jeans.
I paused, cocked my head, and will admit had stared at the cotton white for longer than appropriate.
I had categorized this girl as better than me by her looks and her personality, yet she was showing her underwear (this was way before showing underwear was in style). To my geeky eighteen year old self, I was unworthy to be in her presence, to even consider that she would want to sit next to me.
But she was just a girl. Like me. Wearing underwear. Like me. White cotton underwear. Similar to mine.
She immediately fell off the pedestal I’d put her on.
I still have the habit of thinking most people around me are better, though I certainly don’t wave back until I’m one hundred and ten percent sure they are looking at me, but sometimes I’m reminded, or I remind myself, that everyone wears underwear. Even Gena Showalter, Richelle Mead, and Kresley Cole.