In a world of commentary, why would I choose to do this?
Because It’s about the book, not the typo.
Today is the day that I received the first print copy of my debut poetry book. It just arrived in the mail and I was nervously excited. I opened the cardboard box to reveal the 10 copies in front of me. Picking one up slowly and somewhat apprehensively. For some reason, the first thing I thought was what if there’s a mistake in it? Weird, I shook it off. I had proofreaders, a formatter, I read and re-read it SEVERAL times… never an issue. So why would my first thought be this? On a day that is so special to me? It must just be nerves and irrational anxiety.
I picked up a copy and smiled. I started fanning through it with a grounded delight. I stopped at a random page, my smile grew wider. This was my big moment. I could have picked any page, I had 122 to choose from. I chose this particular one for my hands to stop at. And then I saw it: a misspelled word.
I immediately put the book down.
I have time to fix this. I have time to fix this. I can do this. Okay, let me get on emails right away. Let me Google how to re-upload. Okay, let me pull up YouTube and see how others did this in a short amount of time. Will this mess up the Amazon algorithm? But I’ve already told everyone of the launch date, will this wreck everything? As I was repeating all of these anxious thoughts over and over, I felt negative emotions take over my body. Like a heavy blanket wrapped around me filled with sand pressing down on my shoulders. My heart started beating faster, my head was spinning, I could feel sweat coming on… and for what?
I picked the book up and held it in my hands once more.
I smiled again. Everything melted away. I thought, why does this matter? Who am I panicking for? Not me, that’s for sure. It hit me at that moment. I was going to put myself in a strained emotional whirlwind for other people. Perhaps some human being out there in the ethers that I will never even meet in person. I can see the Amazon and Goodreads review now, typo on page xx – 3 stars for not being thorough. Or maybe I’m getting worried for the friends and family who will pick it up and twinge when they see it. And I’ll get the Instagram DM, “Hey not sure if you know this or not, just wanted to let you know that there is a typo in your book!“. Visuals of people gossiping slid through my mind, as they mocked something that I worked hard on. All because of one letter.
When I see the typo, it doesn’t bother me. At all. I kind of smile at it and think that it’s just a piece of the story. I’m not perfect, nor do I seek perfection (because it’s obviously not real). And when I check in with myself emotionally, I don’t feel upset by it. What does get me anxious is what others will say. And right there at that moment, standing in my dining room holding the first-ever copy of my debut poetry book, I decided to keep the typo. Because it doesn’t bother me and I don’t exist to ease the commentary of others. I also thought that putting myself in a chaotic and worried state, to please other people, is the literal antithesis of the very thing I was holding. This book that speaks of letting go of the heaviness and embracing through acceptance. This book that I lovingly sewed together to explain delight in a space of internal lessons. This bound collection of pages in which dives into mindfulness as a means of being. In all of that, where-oh-where is the page that I dive into How to please others through putting your emotions last, all for the sake of one letter?
Yeah, I’m still smiling. Because in a world of commentary, I’m learning to do my own thing and let others do what pleases them. Their choice is okay too, it is theirs to make and I find comfort in that. For me, I choose to strive for delight and thrive in the humanness of being.
On that narrative, I’d like to replace the idea of embracing “imperfection” with embracing “being”. Because imperfect vs perfect is still such a black or white thing. I’m still not chasing imperfection, rather I am just being me. In whatever capacity that means. And for today, that means I’m not ruining my Thursday all for one simple letter.
It’s about the book, not the typo.
I’d like to add this little note, to thank everyone who purchase a copy of SHE MADE WAVES. It became a bestseller and I’m so very grateful. It’s a scary thing to put ourselves out there creatively, and your support has been so encouraging. I’m already in the works for my next poetry book. Keep an eye out on instagram for sneak peeks!