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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.

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 when I was a kid was for my reading pleasure only.

Before starting the blog 5 years ago, no one had read my stuff. Well, no one besides:

  • Teachers
  • A friend who stole my diary, read it, then returned it to me on my fucking birthday, and explained herself by saying, “You kept leaving it out when I came over. Deep down, you wanted me to read it.” She’s not my friend anymore.
  • My best friend, bless her heart, who read my awful poems about a man who broke my heart when I was 17. Getting my heart broken by predatory men who hit on girls 10 years younger than them wasn’t my thing and neither was prose.

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 ourselves to others, and doubting our worth and voice.

I published my first piece on November 17, 2015.

I didn’t tell anyone about The Inner Dolphin until 2 years later when Life in Ten Minutes published my piece and I shared the site on Instagram.

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 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 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.

I wrote How to Not Get a Hangover, Even If You’re Binge-Watching Mad Men and published it the same day.

I wrote it and published it the same day.

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

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

It wasn’t until my writer’s high wore 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 has already been written. What a waste, what a pity.

Disappointed in myself, I typed “how to avoid hangovers.”

Hmmm, 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.

Horrified at my severe lack of originality, I clicked on it.

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.

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

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

– Kelly Page

This was ingrained in my work and how I approach topics I want to write about. I no longer doubted whether what I had to say had already been said, or worried 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 showing up authentically and making it worth their while.

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