A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post of a friend of mine who wants to publish her poems. ‘Should I do it under my own name or the more poetic name she uses on FB.’
Someone replied: ‘I’d do this under your own name. Your [nickname] sounds pretentious and off-putting, but perhaps it’s just me.’
God, that was harsh, I thought, even though I fully agreed with this person. Half an hour later, I was on a call with my writing buddy.
‘Can I give you feedback on how your present yourself in the world,’ she said unexpectedly.
‘Why do you use ‘Dr’ on your website? It must be such a turn off to some people.’
‘Does it?’ The comment stung a bit, but I carried on exploring this with her nonetheless. ‘Doesn’t it suggest that I’m not someone flaky? Besides, I’ve done years of academic writing before I wrote creatively. The blocks are the same, irrespective of the writing you do.’
We went back and forth on this, and eventually I came to admit that my title was some sort of a shield. When I started blogging I was so insecure. Every time I pressed ‘publish’ button, I died a little bit. My title was there to show some credibility, to give weight to my words and to what I offer. In other words, it was a sort of ‘protection’ mechanism.
Back in October 2014, to show up as I was felt vulnerable.
I’m strong enough now to axe the ‘Dr’. I don’t need big titles to earn your respect and my credibility. It’s not to disown my academic credentials, but to recognise that it doesn’t add anything to my writing or healing work.
So I’m curious. How do you present yourself in the world? Are you strong enough to show up soft and open, exactly as you are? If not, what is your ‘armour’ made of?
P.S. Ready to shed your ‘armour’ and to show up exactly as you are? Sign up here to find out about healing work I do with writers.