“Big butt,” my daughter muttered to my backside one day years ago when she was just five. Well, she actually didn’t mean for me to hear it; but hear it I did.
Let me set up this scene:
It was late evening. The day was winding down and the baby had already had a bath. My daughter wasn’t ready for her turn – she wanted to keep playing with the worms she’d accumulated in our backyard mud pit.
So I, as her mother, nagged her. “Diva K (her name for blogs here on in), get in here! It’s time for your bath!”
Diva K’s response? Silence and zero recognition that she heard me.
Finally, I yelled, “Diva K, get in the bath now or you’re going to lose cartoons in the morning!”
With a huff, Diva K made it into the bathroom only to find me bent over the tub, my toosh in full, widespread view, as I checked the temperature of her water.
When she entered, I said over my shoulder, “Go get your pajamas.”
With a huff, she turned on her heel and as she left the bathroom, said under her breath, “I am…big butt.”
I froze. Did that little girl just call me ‘big butt’? I was horrified! Still holding onto the baby weight, my bottom was more ample than it was when I was younger. I didn’t think that qualified me as a deserving recipient of a criticism, and from my own daughter, with whose pregnancy and birth helped my backside expand to part of the size it was that day.
‘Big butt’! I was mortified! She had single handedly zeroed in on one of my greatest insecurities since bearing and birthing my children – my inability to lose the baby weight. And here, my little princess, my little diva, was using that against me, putting me in my place, criticizing me about something I was already insecure about.
But then…well, I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I didn’t vow to go on a crash diet of lettuce leaves.
I burst out laughing!
I laughed so hard my hand slipped off the side of the tub and I fell over into the water, which incidentally I’d made too cold.
But still I laughed. And laughed and laughed. And still to this day, with a bottom that is twice the width of what I would prefer, laugh about that comment.
They say laughter is the best medicine? Well, I must say, I do believe they’re right.
Being able to find the humor in that comment took a painful, right to the heart, negative comment about one of my insecurities and severed all the power that comment held.
So, in this business of writing and publishing (and especially if you have children), you need to develop a thick skin. Don’t let the criticisms bother you. Don’t let the negative feedback unsaddle you.
Take a deep breath; force your lips to curve upwards instead of down, and chuckle. Then giggle. Finally laugh. I promise you’ll feel better.
You don’t need to laugh about getting a rejection. No, take the (hopefully helpful) comments and put them into your work. But laugh because you are accepting that this is just a step along the way that you are willing to take, absorb, and move on from. Laugh because it will make you feel better.