Dear Minimizer: Please Play Nice

We all have those folks in our life who minimize our worth. For some reason, I’ve encountered several in the last couple of weeks. Whether they trivialize our work, our jobs, or our families, they can be offensive at best and traumatizing at worst. My questions are: why do we let these folks do this to us? And, how can we prevent it from happening in the future?

My book, Friends with Boats, is publishing in two weeks on May 30th. #buyit! And, yes, I DO have a publisher: Greenleaf Book Group/River Grove Press. However, I can not tell you the countless number of times I have felt like I’ve had to defend myself that I actually have a publisher. Like, can’t you just take my word for it, instead of grilling me about whether it’s self-published, or if it’s in hardback, or how the local bookstores can order it from Ingram? Are you so curious that you need to know the complexities of the publishing, or are you really just digging to find holes in my story? I mean, it’s INSANE. GO BUY THE BOOK! It’s available in all places you’d go to find a book. Is that sufficient? I am sure the folks who prod have their own insecurities about their writing not getting published, or their present lots in life. But, can they not just say, “Congratulations! That’s amazing. Can’t wait to read it!”?

This minimizing phenomenon can also infiltrate your job. For example, when I was an actress, people would always ask, “Do I know you from anything?” Um, well, if you have to ask, then no, no, you don’t. Many times this question is innocuous, but for those minimizers, it’s a way to make a creative person feel bad that they are not more famous. It’s suggestive that they are a failure or not be taken seriously. I mean, I don’t ask an accountant when he will be promoted, nor do I ask to see his resume to prove he is in fact an accountant.

I was recently asked, “What do you do all day?,” and I have many stay-at-home parent friends who get asked the same. I am not a stay-at-home mom, but if I were: what do you care? Stay in your lane. I can stay at home, and you can stay in your lane. Mmkay? We find ways to fill the time. I am sorry you’re miserable.

How I fill my time. Ya shush it. Even if I am only online shopping.

Sorry; I don’t mean to rant.

I just get so tired of it! Perhaps it’s the plight of people who put themselves out there creatively. Perhaps we would be better served just hiding and blending in with the crowd. And the worst part is, we are often empaths and more sensitive, so these jabs actually hurt!

It’s always the case that after I’ve been questioned, I have an entire list of better replies, such as “Why would you ask that?” to make the minimizer uncomfortable.

Next time, I’ll be at the ready. But let’s hope there’s not a next time. Let’s hope for nice.

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