(Which is completely untrue. But it isn't about you in the specific sense, but more the general, ethereal, anyone who happens to read this blog you.)
I've had an eventful year or two. I've been faced with situations I never expected to happen--nearly dying, infertility, a wildest-dreams-book deal, a whole heap of rejections, and a slew of crazy, out of the blue, overwhelming issues from my personal life that I love you too much to talk about on the blog. This has, in turn, led me to a rather-more-than-healthy amount of introspection. And I've come to some conclusions about myself.
The biggest one is that I expect things to work out for me. Maybe not in the way that I plan, but I'm genuinely surprised when things don't go my way. Surprised, and more than a little pissed off. (You hear that, uterus? Yeah. You. YOU'RE FIRED.)
And I wondered where I got this idea that I should succeed at things I try. Because I've always had it. My life is a narrative of success. I don't always get exactly what I want when I want it, but in my mind if I really want something and work for it, it'll happen.
It's a lie.
It's a total, total lie.
So many things in life are completely out of my control. And if I look back over the years, I can think of endless examples of things I wanted that did not go my way. For example, Michael-of-the-bowl-haircut-in-fourth-grade? Yeah, total hottie. Hottie that I must have wasted at least two hundred holding-my-breath-and-touching-a-screw-over-railroad-tracks wishes on. Hottie that I made it very clear in a fourth-grade telling-my-friends-who-told-his-friends-who-allegedly-told-him, wearing-my-nicest-dresses-and-always-picking-him-in-heads-up-seven-up way that I liked him.
And he never, ever liked me back. NEVER.
Which is not the most dramatic or horrifying example of things going wrong in my life. Still. Lots and lots of things in my life haven't worked out. But that didn't change this internal narrative I had, this one that said I will succeed where I want to, and things will go well for me, and people will like me, and I deserve to be liked and successful and happy.
(I blame my parents. In the best possible way, of course.)
When you get down to it, we sort our memories and we categorize our experiences. And when we've decided what the story of our life is, we filter everything through that lens.
So guess what? If you've decided your life is a tragedy, it will be! Everything, good or bad, will fit into that framework.
If you've decided your life is an inspirational success against the odds story, it will be! Everything, good or bad, will fit into that framework.
If you've decided your life is a romantic comedy, well, don't ask me for Fourth-Grade-Michael's number.
And if you've decided that your life isn't worthy of any story at all, it won't be.
I'm not saying you can change things by deciding that your personal narrative is going to be one of success. Sometimes it even works against you--because when things don't work out, it's so jarring that it can catch you completely off guard and leave you without the emotional resources to deal with it. (Yes, uterus, YOU ARE STILL FIRED.)
But there are things it can do. I didn't get a book deal because that happy voice inside my head said, "You can be on bookstore shelves someday!" I got a book deal because I believed that was true, and I worked my freaking butt off to get there. (Not literally. I do, in fact, still have a butt.) I always knew I could do it. Even on the days when I didn't think I could, I still knew I could. You'll always have to make adjustments for that pesky real-life thing, but they don't have to derail you. Absorb them into your story, file them away, and move forward.
So I'm telling you right now: Figure out what your personal narrative is. Figure out how you view yourself as a character in the story of your life. Figure out if it's a story you like. And if it isn't, figure out what you need to do, how you need to change your thinking to turn yourself into a character that is going to take your setting, your backstory, your side-characters, and your plot and turn them from whatever course they were taking. Steer them into something you'd love to curl up in an armchair and read when you're ninety. Maybe your story doesn't go exactly how you planned, because no story ever does, but a story is all in the telling.
It's always in the telling.
So tell yourself a good one.