Every person is the star of their own play, but sometimes it's hard to see past the stage lights. Hard to see the faces of the other actors. The faces of the audience. To remember they're there, they're real, and they have feelings.
As a teenage writer, I worry that people won't take me seriously. That they'll automatically assume my work isn't good or that my craft is just a hobby. I worry that people won't think I have the experiences to portray life and emotions and characters accurately and believably. That they'll judge me because of my age before even reading a word.
Yet, if someone at school asks me to read something they've written, I have to keep myself from groaning.
Partially this is because that stereotype I'm so afraid of stems from truth. The things my peers write usually aren't so great. And then what do I tell them? I won't say it's brilliant or that I liked it. I won't lie to make them feel better. But why should I make them feel bad when their pursuit of writing usually doesn't last longer than two weeks?
Still, I squint through those stage lights and see the faces of the audience and remember. I read the things they give me and try to keep an open mind. Sometimes I'm surprised.
But people my own age are not the only people I judge like this.
Occasionally, when I'm reading a new blog, I'll get a rather mean thought. I have to catch myself and tell myself that everyone has to start somewhere. The greats were not always so. I have to remind myself that I'm not so far along this journey myself.
Perhaps it is a human thing to do, to make snapshot judgements about someone that you would not want made about yourself. But that does not make it right. I try hard not to be a hypocrite, but sometimes it takes a little more effort than others. Perhaps sometimes I don't always succeed. Feel free to point it out to me if you ever catch me failing.
And remember, those stage lights that don't allow you to see everyone else, make it easier for everyone else to see you.
How do you do on stage?