How I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others and Questioning My Voice (It’s Because of an Article on Hangovers)

comparing myself to others comparing ourself to others mad men and hangovers

Don’t you hate hangovers? Whenever I hear that word, I think of a frowny face and a Cumulus cloud over their head.

Read on, this will make sense.

Comparing yourself to others will eat you alive, little by little, occupying every neuron, every inch of your body.

This site is almost five years old. When I first started publishing on here, I’d already been writing for years. However, the Barbie diary my dad got me in Italy, was for my viewing (and reading) pleasure only.

My readers before the blog

No one had read my stuff, besides:

  • Teachers who read my essays (and some of my friends’ teachers, who read my, hmm, their, essays.) Yes, I got A-s.
  • Someone who used to be my friend, that I’ll defer from diagnosing, but who showed clear signs of being a pathological liar/a sociopath/mentally unwell, or on that spectrum. She stole my notebook, read it without me knowing of course, then returned it to me on my fucking birthday, and explained herself by saying, “You kept leaving it out when I was around the house. Deep down, you wanted me to read it.”
  • My BFF, bless her heart, who read my hideous poetry about a man who broke my heart when I was 17. Prose is not my thing, getting my heart broken by predatory men who hit on girls 10 years younger either.

If you doubt whether what you have to say is worth sharing with the world

You’re worried if your point of view even makes sense…

If you’ve ever compared yourself to others to the point of exhaustion

What follows is a lesson on comparing myself to others, and doubting our worth and voice.

I published my first piece on November 17, 2015. Two years later, when Life in Ten Minutes published my piece, I shared my site with the world. For a while, the day I did that (I posted it on IG) held the record for the highest number of visitors in a day, almost 100.

Because of the content’s quality, better promotion, or consistency, that is no longer the case.

I definitely wonder where my little corner of the internet would be today if I’d started earlier, or, not necessarily earlier, but if I’d been more vocal about it, if I’d shared, if I’d reached out.

The hangover story I promised

When I first started sharing, I struggled to come up with writing ideas just as much as I struggled with executing them.

Some of the first few articles were things I’d written already or points others had made, but that I believed needed to be discussed, like the Gary Yourofsky’s Best Speech You Will Ever Hear article.

I published five articles in 2015, four in November, and one in December.

Then, I guess my resources ran out because four months passed before I published the next piece.

Do you know what I wrote?

How to Not Get a Hangover, Even If You’re Binge-Watching Mad Men.

It was a semi-funny, semi-serious article on a question I got asked frequently when I told people I didn’t get hangovers, “How???”.

I wrote it, tweaked it enough so that I liked what I’d built, and I published it.

What happened next might shock you. I just wanted to say that clickbait-y sentence.

It wasn’t until my writer’s high rode off that I started freaking out.

What the fuck did I just write? Everyone must’ve written about this, exactly the same way I just did. I just took my space on here for granted, adding something that wasn’t needed, that had already been written. What a waste, what a pity.

After hyperventilating for a while, I thought, let’s go to one of my favorite places in the world… Google.

Nervously, disappointed at myself, I typed “how not to get hangovers,” or maybe it was “how to avoid hangovers,” you get the point.

Hmm, not many results showed up.

So not every single person with an internet connection had written precisely what I had?!

Okay, okay, I found an actual “How Not to Get a Hangover” article. Again, horrified at myself and my lack of originality, I opened it expecting to see something remarkably similar to what I’d written.

I remember the moment even though it was years ago because it shaped me in some strange ways.

The article had a completely different approach, style of writing, tone, and all that.

It was a different piece altogether.

Our voices didn’t blend, they were very distinct. The author of the other article hadn’t made any references to what I had, no Mad Men or Bob Sinclair jokes.

“No one is you and that is your power. Own it.”

Kelly Page

From then on, this lesson was ingrained in my work ethic and creativity. I no longer doubted whether what I had to say had already been said, or that it had been said more eloquently, clearly, and beautifully.

There are enough curious eyeballs on Earth for everyone, no matter what our craft or talent is. All we need to do is make sure we’re making it worth their while.

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