I Have To Go See About An I Can

Can’t be a writer. Not today. The emotions are slathered on too thick.

Can’t shake the doubt.

Can’t compete. Can’t be on their level.

Can’t. Can’t. Can’t.

Not today.

I’m a hypocrite, the largest form of one. I am a floating Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon extravagantly large hypocrite. Look at me, I can do everything. I am the best writer. I am a wonderful wife. Bullshit. Yes, I am calling bullshit on myself. Sometimes we need to call bullshit on ourselves. We need to keep ourselves in check. I sat down this morning and choked myself against the wall with the belief in two words: I can’t.

“Mama, I can’t,” a little boy will say.

“Don’t say I can’t. You keep trying until you can. We don’t allow I can’t in this house,” is always my response.

Meanwhile, the Misfit Mama can’t write like those fancy people with degrees. I wonder if their degrees hang above their toilets? That’s where we keep ours. Overpriced education with the promise of better jobs and a better future. There are no jobs to pay back the aesthetically pleasing belief in three pieces of paper hanging above the place where I take a crap. Where else should my family show off our expensive accolades? My Mother said, “You have to go to college and get an education.” I got one, and I don’t think I will ever be able to pay it back.  Take into account I started working a job at 15 years-old. Full time job plus college at 18. Married and divorced at 19. Those are things the damn piece of paper hanging above my shitter will not tell you about. There are no marks on them for survival.

I say, “I can’t write as well as those people with fancy initials behind their name. They are schooled in the craft of writing. I am not.”

I say, “It’s all shit. Everything I write is shit. The sentences I string together, so damn pretty but cliche. Not good enough. They aren’t going to get me into the elite prestigious clubs. My niche?? What the hell is my niche?”  With every ounce of truth I’m not going to lie to you: I don’t have a niche.

I say, “What am I supposed to write in my bio? I don’t have any real merit.”

In case you’re wondering, writers write their own bios for publications. I like to write mine to sound like a Tinder profile, and hope people swipe to the left. Because there’s really nothing in my bio to read. Nothing worthwhile anyway. I am Rachel E. Bledsoe. I like Marie Antoinette biographies. I love the ocean. Don’t date me. Don’t notice me. Don’t swipe to the right, I’m not going to answer back.

There are no answers here because I don’t have any.

And we don’t allow I can’t to be muttered in our house.

The greatest life altering lessons I’ve learned in my life haven’t been taught in a classroom setting. They were learned from experience, from trying and failing. I can answer trivia and perhaps help win a free pitcher of beer. But to write? I am the biggest phony or greatest illusionist of all. I am not educated in the craft. Everything you have ever read on this site I’ve learned through the public library, books I’ve either stolen or bought and some I picked up along the way. My self taught ability was combined with the knowledge I retained from my high school English teachers.

Get your Boston Southie accent out, please:

See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don’t do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.

Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting

Two certainties in life. Two. They told me in college those two certainties were taxes and death.

Throughout today, I’ve convinced myself of only one certainty:

I CAN’T. I CANNOT.

The true nature lies not whether in the fact of can I or can’t I. The undoubtable variable here is: Am I willing?

All my answers change when this becomes part of my equation. I’ve always been willing to put my words out there. Therefore, the I can’t changes immediately into I can, if I’m willing.

Change the script. Drop the self doubt. Go see about a girl. Reality check, just write it out. Ignore the other people and their bios. Do you. The entire time I’ve written, I’ve done me. Some of it is good and well… some of it isn’t. That’s me, good and bad intertwined. I’ve changed here and there. I’ve adapted. And I’ve made one of the best friends a gal can make in this industry.

But for tonight, I got to go finish some writing. I got to see what I can do.

No more I can’t.

243H

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7 Comments on "I Have To Go See About An I Can"

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Jenny
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Oh my goodness, I have not read my favorite blogs in such a long time (yours being one of them), and I have so missed reading your thought provoking posts. I love the way you write and how honest and raw it is, and I am so glad that you continue on.
I have been seriously struggling with my relatively new line of work (website design) and have been struggling with “I Can’t” every day this week. I needed to read this. Thanks for writing it!

Whitney
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I always love your writing. But I can TOTALLY sympathize with days where you can’t do a damn thing. I read everyone else’s words and know for sure that mine don’t measure up. 💕

Holly Tellander - hollytellander.com
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Holly Tellander - hollytellander.com

Love it. And right there with you. It’s a bitch to get up each day and keep that voice at bay. But what else is there, eh? Thanks for keepin’ it real.

Lizzi
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And what does your bio need to say, any more than that YOU are the person – the writer – of the whatever piece you’ve created. The market is flooded with good writing, and we none of us have a magic formula for ‘making it’, except if you ask the published ones, it comes down to hard graft. Not letters (thank goodness, though I still kinda want some), not niches (mine’s ME!), not a *twinklysparkly* bio which arrests the attention, because, really, you’re reading the article, not checking out the writer (I mean…usually). So much of it is effort and… Read more »
Mary McLaurine
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I think there are days we all write your words. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Your voice is your voice as told through your words. Degree, no degree – pffffft. It matters not. We write because it’s our oxygen and we can only hope we can help inflate the lungs of someone who seemingly couldn’t catch their breath until the moment they read YOUR words. Not mine, not so and so’s, and the last thing that person cares about is whether or not you have a degree. Keep writing. xoxo

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