How I not got published in a newspaper

Or: Controlling emotions and getting the laundry done

I didn’t really think it was funny, but everybody who so far heard the story had a good laugh about my misery… Hmm?

It could have had several other headlines as well: ‘How to be a control freak’, ‘Stubborn old woman’, ‘Cranky like a child’, … feel free to come up with more.

So here it is: Me, Mrs. Oh-so-confident had decided not to just get published with a book. No, this woman wanted to write for a newspaper or a magazine as well. Hiccup being: I don’t have a lot of time for reading. So what do I know what newspapers want.

Holidays came and I sniffed my chance. Armed with newspapers and a supply of triple shot cappuccinos I spent several days, and thought that I had received a pretty good idea where my kind of writing might be appreciated. Now I waited for inspiration to flood my brain, and to lead the ten bony extensions at the ends of my arms, to tickle a brilliant column stile article out of the keyboard. Then, after a trip to Cambridge I sensed a rambling in the upper storey, and felt the urge to attend to my computer, thus giving birth to two concoctions of words.

Well, don’t know if they WERE that brilliant, but I thought they were pretty good; edgy, a bit different than usual, more sarcastic rather than (girly) funny. And then I felt the rumbling two storeys lower, when I gave them to hubby to read.

Female intuition! He tore them apart!

I got it back with new paragraphs scribbled into the margins of the sheet. We discussed, he explained, I defended, the whole story fell apart, I amended, gave it back …and there it was, this odd feeling of sliding back into childhood:

Little Rika didn't do her homework right,

were mistakes in it,

had to re-do, re-do, re-do…

Wonderful articles falling apart; getting something sent out during the hols became like the rear lights of a leaving train – very faint! Not even the original versions were saved due to childish over-compliance. Trying much too hard, close to crying I managed to turn ‘sad emotionalism’ into ‘mad emotionalism’, meaning a good self-rant.

Get me the ironing board! I am not writing this anymore. Good and well then; this is NOT going to be sent off at all! Two shirts finished…I have my website, right? … that is MY playground, right? There I can write whatever I want, I am going to publish this myself…damned I don’t HAVE the original version – silly cow! Where is this damn sheet… re-typing! Better do some more ironing, not calm enough yet!

I’m telling you: We have ironed shirts until end of days now.

Eventually I could go downstairs and pretend that things were fine. Actually, the poor bloke who is my husband didn’t do anything visibly wrong. Again, I was the one who couldn’t take the criticism and acted like a hyena – something that my mum loved to throw at me as a child.

This time I was not willing to just break into tears, ask for forgiveness, and let it be until next time. I knew that there was a good reason for my emotional outburst, and to prevent it from happening again, I needed to know what that was.

This odd mechanism of going through the roof and then being blamed for banging my own head just had to stop!

One night of sleep does wonders. All of a sudden I remembered a sketch where an elderly lady is standing next to a zebra crossing and a young bloke comes dashing and quickly is dragging her across the street. Now granny, rather confused, has to try hard to get back since she didn’t want to cross the street. It was just a coincidence that she took a rest next to the zebra crossing, meanwhile the bloke is bragging on, about how he ‘helped’ an old lady.

Now I eventually realised that my behaviour depends in the way criticism is presented to me. If it is feedback I can very well live with it. I really do value the opinion of others. If it comes in the form of unsolicited advice I go bonkers.

For example I hate it when I’m in the middle of a job and then being told that I’m not doing it well enough: It’s not finished yet, for crying out loud. Let me at least TRY to do it my way.

And I’m instantly driven over the edge when asking for feedback and getting either of the following:

People assuming that I will by all means take their opinion on board:

Why are you asking for advice and then don’t do what I say?

Thus switching me into defence mode

meaning: bitching and snarling!

People presenting their final solution for a problem they think I have:

This here is wrong; you should do it this and that way!

Thus switching me into child mode

meaning: feeling ashamed, then complying, then getting defensive,

then bitching and snarling!

In passing my writing to Detlef I asked for… Hmmm, yeah… What did I actually ask for? I did ask for feedback, so I thought. However, I might have not been very precise in my request and hence got misunderstood, or I might even have been phrasing it right, but body language and my formerly insecure behaviour might have established a helpers syndrome in him.

As a matter of fact: I’m running into less trouble with people who don’t know me that well and hence are less prone to interpreting my requests using historic information about me.

So the next morning at the breakfast table we resolved the matter. I will use the word 'feedback', making clear that this means opinion, and then I will think about whether or not I will take it on board. And he agreed to not give advice when I’m not asking for it.

Good deal!

However, the two articles were burnt. Call it stubborn, call it silly: I had lost the interest. Although I had established the original form, they were just not ‘mine’ anymore. I did put them on the website, though. And for the rest of it:

This is the story of how I did not get published in the newspapers.

Rika's Column

Food Personalities
My Choice - My Challenge
Back to the roots
Iron Ladies
Keeping the Romance
Not old yet
Travelling Skills
Winter Blues
X-mas Perfection
Column Talk
Moaners and Whiners
My very own sun
Nudism VS. Fur
Ballet for Adults
About Women
Confidence & Humour
Location, Location
Going Cat Bonkers
How To Be Funny
Three Cheers to USG
To Lent or Not To Lent
Let's complain a bit
Sport & Food - Choices
Tweeting Like a Bird
How to Train a Husband
Dangerous Romance
Excuses! Excuses?
Seats with Needs
Present, Past, Future
Cheese & Computers
Games! Games?
Rabit, Death and ...
Never Enough
How I not got published
Going stingy … eh, thrifty
Asian vs. Caucasian
Panic,Paranoia & Politics
Pictures, Roofs & Paranoia
On the Slush Pile
Cattle Trek
Fraudster & CS
He's so sweet!
Names ...
Am I too spoilt?
Homage to Mukuefchen
Buying a Car
Food Shopping
Oh No, not again!
Wrongly Wired
IAPU (farce)
How Embarrassing
Homage to Monica
I'm on Strike
Humble Pie
We Had It All

What's the worst...?
Creams and Ointments

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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika