Isn’t it strange? I wrote a wonderful post about ego yesterday. I was internally grinning from ear to ear as I wrote it. It was a lot of fun.
It was also very ego-bolstering. It felt so satisfying, taking apart the ways we all fall prey to our own ego and our need to be right.
As I was busting all of our egos, my own was growing.
I thought for a second about waiting to publish it the next day, but then I thought, nah. It’s good to go now. Let’s do it! So I hit publish. I clicked on my story to proofread again, as I always do — the thrill of the fresh-pressed lets you spot everything you didn’t see when you checked before.
But as I scrolled down, the story stopped. With a couple of ````
My stomach reeled. My story hadn’t been saved at all in the hour before I published, the hour during which all the genius had come flooding through my fingers.
Gone. All of it. Only the meager beginning remained. I felt sick.
So, what do you do?
First, you google “Medium story published half is missing” and try to somehow get your words back from the dead.
You find some articles by people describing how they earned money on the Medium Partner Program with barely 100 followers. Ok — learned something there.
But what now? Do you try re-writing the story as well as you remember, while it’s still fresh?
Not gonna work.
I was so shocked, humiliated even, alone on the couch, I could barely write the letter to Medium support, asking if there is any possible way my words could still be floating around somewhere. Sitting down to write all of them down like that for the second time felt utterly impossible, and it still does a day later. My throat constricts itself when I think of it.
But here’s what I’m going to do about it.
- Write this story, to get the words about the words out of my head.
- Let myself feel. The shock and the anger, hopelessness and frustration. Unconditionally. For days, if necessary.
- Know there’s a gift. At least now I can write this story. At least I found that post about earning money through the Partner Program. At least I had the chance to experience and process these feelings for the 178th time. At least this served as a reminder that I need to take precautions and react accordingly to messages like “We were unable to save your post at this time. Click here to learn how to fix this.” — instead of dismissing them and thinking publishing the post will magically solve the problem I was ignoring while it stared me in the face.
If it hurts, it will stick
Human beings are antifragile. If we choose ourselves over the convenience of brushing off our pain, adversity and negative experiences will make us stronger. My lost words hurt like daggers. Almost literally. I mean it, the feeling borders on that of an in-the-flesh knife wound. You know, almost.
But I’m going to squeeze every last drop of learning I can muster out of that pain.
I needed to learn to let my stories sit for a day. That way, I can go through them, making last minute corrections the next day after letting my intuition do its thing — it is slow and needs some time apart from words to really process what it’s trying to say — then hit publish and move on to write the next post immediately. That’s my kind of flow. But there’s an even bigger lesson.
Ego kicks you in the stomach
For about a year now, I have repeatedly seen the universe smacking me in the face hard whenever I let my ego get ahead. When baking bread, when baking cake, with my son, with writing, with everything I learn, with people in my environment.
All of it. Every time I get slightly arrogant, think I know what I’m doing, start feeling invincible — a bit too good— BAM.
Right there. It happens. I mess up. Grandly, stupidly.
And it’s just painful enough for me to get the message:
Yo. Be humble. You’re worthy, but you’re not God. You are a human being. You are an amazing human being, because you are a human being.
Don’t you dare think you need to be better than other human beings to deserve everything you want.
You are already all you need to be. You already have everything you will ever need. And you are exactly where you need to be. Now get back to learning, you lovely person. Stay wise. Stop thinking you know better.
You know better than that.