No One Cares About Me
I remember the day I realized that none of my friends or family actually cared whether or not I ever had any success as a writer; all they wanted was for me to be happy. This seemed very callous to me at the time, until I admitted that I had the same hopes for them. I didn’t care so much about the particulars of the lives of those people I loved—whether they married or became teachers or sold that screenplay—I only wanted them to be happy. In fact, all the details of our lives, the grievances, the losses, the victories, the midnight fears—none of these are actually of any concern to anyone but ourselves. We all know, in our hearts, that the suffering of another will eventually pass, perhaps to be replaced by yet more suffering, but pass nonetheless. When we look at another, what we most often see is a complete soul marred only by some thought—a thought that is ultimately none of our business.
One of the first challenges of the writer is to separate our lives from what our lives have taught us. None of your readers care about you, you in the small sense, you who must think your thoughts, who must choose what to have for breakfast, who wonders what your friend meant by that little aside, who is wounded and is healed. All our readers care about is what we have learned from all these little battles we call our lives.
And as well they should. Those battles were only ever there to teach us. The battles aren’t the point; they are the vessel for the cargo that is understanding. Share then your cargo not the vessel. No one will ever really care about your life, but they will care about what you have learned. Because if all these struggles align themselves to teach us what we must learn, so too does the teacher arrive when the student is ready. You are both the teacher and the student. Let the light of what you have learned shine through so your students might find you.