“You’re not a good writer, you don’t even know how to pitch! What makes you think anyone wants to read your features? You might as well go for a more conventional role and do that for the rest of your life. You’re literally wasting your time chasing your dreams. Don’t you know your parents have bills to pay? So selfish! How dare you think to waste your time, writing to places for free, to chase your dreams. It’s 2020 honey, dreams don’t pay rent. You need money. Just give up. You’re a Bengali, Muslim girl, you’ll get hate for everything you write and never get commissioned. Besides, you’ll never be as good as your peers and colleagues that got a First at university. You suck man, just stop.”
Dear Inner Critics
I’m glad you enjoy living in my mind, rent free. Unlike me, I see you have a full-time job: Making my life hell. Here’s a little message for you, and I hope you get the hint.
I am a good writer. I always have been. From the moment my teacher forced the class to give me a round of applause, for my creative story telling in year 4, to the proud words I received from my feature writing lecturer for my writing, and the degree in Journalism I got in 2020.
I don’t know if you’ve had time to notice beyond your constant criticism, but pitching is hard. They’re boring as hell and they suck. It feels like a waste of time composing an entire letter, explaining your in-depth thought processes behind a fabulous piece of work, to hear back “Not quite what we want, but pitch again!” weeks later. Every writer can relate.
Yes, my parents have bills. Everyone has bills. And they will have bills for the rest of their goddamn lives. If I directed my future based on the fact that I need to help them clear their debt, I would have no future. I would be unhappy, stuck in a job I don’t like, feeling like my life lacks purpose and hate my family for coercing me to live a life in a way I don’t want to live. So yeah, I’m chasing my dreams. I’m going to be happy and I don’t care how hard I have to work, or the amount of overtime I need to pull to get there. Because, I’ll get there.
If I used “you’re a girl” to justify not doing so many things, I wouldn’t have done anything! Gender stereotypes are changing. Cultural norms are changing. Societies rules are changing. And if they aren’t changing, I’ll be the first to break those rules and make them change!
I get hate for a lot of things. The people I choose to date, the things I choose to eat and the outfits I deem “fashionable.” People will hate me for a lot of things. And guess what? I hate a lot of people. I can’t and won’t live my life according to what other people prefer. There is a world population of 7.8 billion. You try catering to their opinions and tell me how it goes, kay?
Lastly, there’s always going to be someone better than me. I’m going to be better than someone else. The cycle continues because we are our own individual person with our own individual identity. We can’t possibly compare to the talents of other people and we shouldn’t. Screw the competition. I’m going to be the best version of myself. Not of her or him or they or it. Of me. And whoever loves me and my writing for what it is, is in for a hell of a ride.