I don’t always quote rap lyrics to get my point across, but when I do, I (apparently) quote Drake.
Lately, I’ve started thinking much differently about reputation. As someone who recently left a career, the success of which relies in large part on what others – from clients to coworkers to judges to opposing counsel, just to name a few – think of you, I’m not sure I had a choice when it came to revising my viewpoint on what reputation is, what it means and why it seems to be so damn important. In my own life, reputation has always been something I’ve thought about, something I’ve considered – of course, I want people to like me, to respect me, to think more positive things about me than negative, etc., but recently I’ve noticed that my thoughts about reputation have become a lot more ‘me-‘ focused than ‘them-‘ focused, meaning: instead of thinking about my reputation in terms of how others view me, I’ve started thinking about my own relationship with my reputation…i.e., am I OK with cultivating a life that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, even if other people look at it and say “wtf is she doing?” This likely means that I’m no longer viewing reputation in the traditional (or maybe even the correct) sense, so I’m calling it something different now: reputationship: the relationship that I have with my own reputation (no doubt Mirriam-Webster will be adding that to the dictionary in short order).
When I started working on Katie Rose Goes, I was often hesitant to share my ideas about the site with my friends and family. I worried that my ideas sounded sophomoric, derivative (the world needs not for bloggers, after all) or just plain lame. It took me a while to feel comfortable discussing the blog without feeling a little…embarrassed. The sheepishness came from a million different places: would people think I was trying something new because I’d failed at being a decent attorney? Would others even remotely enjoy reading what I had to say? Would my friends (or complete strangers) think it was laughable that I was trying to pass myself off as an amateur chef? Would everyone who heard about the blog think I was just a (very) poor man’s Emily Schuman? These types of thoughts almost kept me from launching this site.
Luckily, it’s 2017 and I’m pretty positive that all of us are basically living inside the internet now, so when Instagram came to my rescue, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was mindlessly scrolling one day, and I came across something that really resonated with me…it was a meme (this is a no-judgment zone, people, keep reading) that said, “The truth is that most people never start because they don’t want to be seen starting at the bottom. Don’t be most people.” For whatever reason, that declaration became my motto, and those are still the words that I repeat to myself when I feel silly about a recipe or post I’m about to upload or tell a friend about. I mean, if starting from the bottom is good enough for Drake, then it sure as hell is good enough for me, and I am feeling very Drake right now.
“The truth is that most people never start because they don’t want to be seen starting at the bottom. Don’t be most people.”
I guess what I’ve come to appreciate over the last 6 or so months, is this: what other people think of me – and what I think of myself – will literally always be in constant flux, I think that’s just the way the human experience works – little things happen a million times a day that knock you down or build you up and we’re all engaged in an almost constant battle to maintain some sort of equilibrium – but the important part (for me) isn’t necessarily finding the middle ground, it’s about being OK with the fact that there will be times when I simply can’t get there – because I plan on choosing to spend my mental efforts elsewhere. I don’t want to use my time working to prove to anyone else that what I’m doing with my life at this moment is something that deserves praise, validation or support, even if that’s my natural inclination (which it is, a lot of the time), because that takes precious energy away from my real pursuits: building a new life in Edinburgh and working on this site. Ideally, I would love to get to a place where my reputationship is as healthy as the relationship between Gwyneth and Chris; said otherwise: I want to consciously uncouple from my reputation, so that I don’t have to give it constant attention or make it a super-priority in my life, while simultaneously managing to maintain a civil, respectful connection to it that acknowledges it’s importance. (That’s what conscious uncoupling is, right?)
What’s that saying about flowers? That they grow and bloom regardless of whats going on around them? Well, it’s something like that, and I’ve decided that I want to be more like a flower: I want to worry a little bit (read: a lot) less about what’s going on around me, and think more about my own growth…sounds nice, right? Truth be told, my reputationship is still a work in progress, and I can’t help but wonder about the things going on around me, like whether people like what I’m doing or think my recipe for tomato bisque is a total home run…but, at the end of the day, I feel like I’m headed in the right direction, even if the starting line is at the bottom.