I'm going to write a book about validation. A real book, and then get it published and shared with the world.
For the longest time, I've had my second novel on the back burner and kept telling myself that I should work on it, that the novel is my real goal and should take priority over blogging. Getting published is my life goal after all. But time and time again, I've just been drawn more to writing nonfiction stuff about validation and social pressures than I have been drawn to writing my novel.
Things have been going well recently. One of my best friends just got a job she really wanted. I've gotten the stuff I ordered in the mail to start Project You Matter, which will donate care packages to foster kids to make them feel special. I had really nice time at the beach with my parents yesterday. When I got home from the beach, I started making decorations for my new apartment - colorful snowflakes (to signify that everyone is a special little snowflake), and I made a poster that says, "Every song the world sings each was once unknown." (From the the song "One Small Voice"). I'm still not back to normal, but I was feeling much better, much more like I could do something.
So this morning, I woke up and finished my latest blog post about being non-meta before even getting out of bed. I read it over, thinking about my goal of spreading validation to the world. I thought about some of the really important posts on this blog, posts I've glanced over recently and thought, "This is really good! I just wish more people would see it!" All of the accomplishments I've been most proud of in the last few years have been my best posts about validation. And I asked myself, why am I fighting this? Why do I keep pushing what I care the most about to the side and tell myself that I need to be working on my novel because that's my *real* goal? I still want to write my novel, and I will return to it. Writers do that all the time. It's normal to be working on lots of projects at once. But what's really, really inspiring me right now is the need to teach others about validation. I think the reason I put so much pressure on myself to prioritize my novel is because I always saw writing fiction as the only way to get published, make a living as a writer, and not have to do some unrelated job on the side. But self-help books are popular nowadays. Non-fiction does sell! And what's important is that this is a problem-solving book. I will use examples from my own experience, but the primary focus will be on how to be more validating. It will sort of be like one of those books about how to deal with bullies - there are examples of bullying described, but the primary focus is on what to do about it and the right words to say when you're standing up for yourself. This book will give people the words to say to *become* validating, rather than simply saying "you're being invalidating and that's bad." This book will counteract the recent phenomenon of pushing people to be happy all the time, but it will do so in a positive way that doesn't make the reader feel like they're being attacked. (That is not to say that certain people shouldn't be attacked, but I'm writing this book in the way that I think will be most effective at promoting change).
I have wanted to do this since I left Colby, but I couldn't have done a good job on it if I'd written it right after graduation because it would have just been me complaining about all the bad things that had happened. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with me complaining about all the bad things that happened, but in order for the book to change other people's behavior, it needs to be more positive and solution-focused.
Another important aspect about this book is that, while it is friendly and non-attacking, is very much about how to validate other people rather than how to react when someone doesn't validate you. It puts the responsibility on how we treat each other rather than making it your own responsibility to be strong inside when someone does something really bad to you. There are is a lot of advice out there about how to deal with bullies - and that is very important - but we just don't see as much advice on how not to BE a bully. We treat other people's behavior like a weather condition, like, "We can't control when there's going to be a hurricane, so let's prepare for it." People are not weather conditions. The way you get treated is NOT inevitable. This book is going to be very, very focused on how to be validating towards others rather than how to protect yourself against those who invalidate you.
I have TONS of material, enough to write a book, so that's what I'm going to do. This is my calling, this is what I need to do, and I can't ignore it any longer. I'm going to start working on it today. I haven't been this excited about something in a long time!!!
And I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the friends who have been validating to me through all of this. You are the best friends in the whole world and I could have never done this without you!