helpful things I learned from the worst book I’ve ever read (no, I’m not telling you the book)

Be a good representative of your community.

No matter which hat of my many hats is most prominent on my head at any given time, I want to represent that hat in an honest way. It’s not about proving why I’m right as the only American in the room, or only feminist, or only Penguins fan, whatever – it’s about being a positive representative of that group and acknowledging, not making excuses for, fellow group members behaving badly.

Don’t present your opinions as facts.

In your heart of hearts, you know if a strong opinion is really just that: an opinion. Even if it’s a core value of yours. You can express that idea if you need to, but to paint it as a fact is irresponsible. It’s not even so much about the people you offend, but the people you mislead.

Don’t tell half truths.

You’re misrepresenting yourself by doing this, and people will notice. If you’re presenting yourself as something, be that something. Do the thing, even if it’s ugly or embarrassing. Don’t do a “version” of it. Do it for real.

Check your privilege.

Please. Especially if you’re up on a soapbox telling people to live a certain way. Acknowledge such things as systemic barriers, whether it’s to do with racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, allllll of it…before you go off on someone about what they’re doing wrong and what they should just *poof!* go off and change about their lives. PS: If you goof up, (I’m already questioning if “systemic” was the right word to use – I think so?) own it! Let people teach you. Make an effort to learn. Grow.

If you used to be an apple and became an orange, your former apple-ness is no excuse for you to shame other apples into also becoming oranges.

Yeah…no. “I used to be lost, too” is not something to say to someone who is living their truth and harming no one. If you used have…let’s say, “a similar lifestyle” to someone you’re preaching to, that doesn’t make it okay! What in the world! You could have been a literal sex worker and changed careers, that doesn’t give you any more of a right to slut shame anyone. Dang, people. I’m getting angry again.

Do your research.

Just because you think you are sharing a humorous, uncommon, groundbreaking secret does not mean that the rest of the world is on the same page. “Everyone, I have a big secret. I [insert pretty tame and normal grooming habit]. I know, I know! This information makes me quirky and bold and real. Please clap.” Maybe try talking to people, or reading articles or books by people on similar subjects, and then don’t publish something that makes women think “am I supposed to feel weird about this?”

Anyone can write a book.

Biggest takeaway. So go for it! Follow your dreams! If you can help it, try not to write something that makes people cringe (unless it’s in the Stephen King spooky-cringe sort of way) but otherwise just have at it. Heck, try to get it published. I can just about promise that whatever you write, as long as you write from a place of truth, will be 1000000x better than something it seems too many people have read.

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