My favorite color is blue. It's my go-to whenever I'm able to treat myself to a pedicure. Blue raspberry is my favorite flavor for just about anything. I'm even wearing a blue shirt as I'm writing this post.
But I feel like people more often associate me with red. I've been dying my hair red for about three years now. A bold red lip is one of my favorite makeup looks. I currently own four red-and-black checkered flannel shirts and tend to receive them as Christmas and birthday presents.
And my nails are currently red, specifically "A Little Guilt Under The Kilt" from OPI—the only bottle of nail polish I've bought solely because of what the color was named!
But above all of that, I feel like I'm known for my red glasses. I've been complimented on them frequently by coworkers and customers. I wouldn't be surprised if, "She's the one in the red glasses," was a way new associates were pointed in my direction when it was time to find their Coach.
Even though they were probably one of my more distinguishing features, especially while mask policies were being enforced at work, I didn't have the same fondness for these red glasses as much as everyone else seemed to.
I liked the shape, a bit rounded but not so circular they gave off Mary Bennet or Harry Potter vibes. But beyond that, I wasn't enamored with them.
In all actuality, they were intended to be my backup pair. They were made of plastic and not as sturdy as the ones I got from my optometrist's office. The color made them difficult to match with anything in my dresser that wasn't a red-and-black-checkered flannel shirt. Some days, it also seemed to accentuate any acne flareups I had (which happens a lot thanks to PCOS).
My main glasses were simple rectangular frames, black, and made of metal. They had a bit of a Velma from Scooby-Doo feel to them.
But more importantly, they were perfectly suited for everyday wear.
So when the frames broke about a year later, I was definitely a little vexed. Super glue did nothing to fix them.
At that point, I was still a few months out from my annual optometrist appointment and I didn't want to spend the money on another pair when there was the potential of my prescription changing.
I started wearing the red backups on a daily basis. That's what backups are for, after all.
They were a hit with my coworkers, and they and customers often remarked on how they suited me.
But those compliments, for some reason, didn't sit as well with me.
It wasn't like my sunglasses, which are more of a cat-eye shape that fits my standard winged eyeliner look. Those everyone loved just as much as I did, and they even prompted some good banter about being a superstar or an undercover CIA agent among my coworkers.
Something I couldn't quite put my finger on didn't feel right when people would say they liked my red glasses.
Part of that has to do with their not being as expected.
For one thing, they looked more purple on the website I ordered from. I wasn't exactly disappointed with them, but my feelings towards them turned lukewarm. They were fine, but I wouldn't have chosen them for myself if they were part of the display at my optometrist's office.
When I started wearing them every day, it started to solidify that feeling of those red glasses not being my choice.
That made being known for them feel strange. I didn't feel quite myself with those red glasses on.
So far, 2022 has put an emphasis on finding and rediscovering myself.
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary at my retail job. In that short span of time I went from being a cashier to one of the Head Cashiers overseeing the Front End, trained to be a backup in another department, and named by management as a Coach tasked with training new associates. Suffice it to say there's been a lot of professional growth.
I've also gradually started to find my writing groove again, and so much of that has had to do with reestablishing who I am as a writer. I've spent so long trying to fit into the "ideal." Trying to find the "right" or "correct" way of doing something in a field where only a handful of rules exist.
All throughout my academic years, the goal was always to make any assignments fit what the instructor was looking for. This became my approach when I began assessing feedback from beta readers. Their comments were insightful and helped me identify so many things I hadn't been taught in any writing classes, but implementing them in the draft that followed had me feeling like I was being pulled in every direction trying to make my WIP what it "should" be in order to satisfy everyone.
There's a saying about receiving critiques that goes something like, "If two out of three agree..." It basically means that if you're looking at a pool of feedback and only one person suggests a change, it's up to your discretion if you consider it or not; if that same change is suggested by multiple people, it's definitely worth taking into consideration.
That rule somehow went out the window, and I ended up trying to incorporate nearly everything that was brought up. There were noticeable improvements, but at the same time, it started to feel like it wasn't my story anymore.
I was falling out of love with it because I was trying to make it fit all these different ideas and boxes.
And if you yourself are not pleased with your writing, is it really worth it?
That feeling of being disconnected from the story was among the reasons driving my decision to rewrite it. Breaking everything down and picking out the things I liked most and what works best for the narrative as a whole has been a tough process, but it's also been one of the best things I've done for that WIP—and for myself as writer.
It's not so different from my experience with the red glasses. While everyone loved them, I only really liked their shape. Now that I've had my annual exam with my optometrist. I've got a new pair of glasses. I stuck with the square frame my previous pair had, but these are metal and black—with a bit of blue on the arms.
They feel more me.
That's what this rewrite has become: finding my voice after it got lost in my vying to please everyone. Reclaiming my story and bringing it closer to what I want it to be.
Art is subjective. That's no secret.
No matter what you write, it won't please every reader out there. Tropes loved by one might be hated by another. The lovers might be the perfect pair for one reader while another might ship them with a different character.
At the end of the day, there is one person your story should please no matter what: yourself.