Don’t Believe The Hype

A couple of weeks ago, whist gorging on a huge chocolate Easter-bunny entirely to myself, I was quietly eavesdropping on my husband and his best friend. He had come over with his family to spend the Easter weekend with us. My husband and his friend are, I think it would be fair to say, very heavily into music. They were discussing the new Kanye West album and how appalling they felt it was. Now Kanye West gets his fair share of negative press these days and, love him or hate him, he kind of brings this general dislike upon himself because of his infamous arrogance. Always looking for an opportunity to put my oar in and give my two-pennies-worth, I pointed out that Kanye West had once been undoubtedly a very talented man and how it was a shame that he had fallen from grace. In the past he had put out some great tracks; Lost In The World, Love Lockdown and Gold-digger (well I think they were great tracks, anyway). Whilst being no muso, this didn’t stop me waving my now-earless bunny about in the air (to emphasise my point), and remarking how I felt it was very sad that a once gifted man had lost his way. Even though I was partially ignored by the two men, it made me think…can I spin this into a blog? And do you know what? I think I can.

I’m not actually here to talk about how good/terrible Mr West is (he’s just an example), but the conversation made me wonder how a loss of talent comes about. I think it happens when we’re remarkably good at something, people keep telling us we’re remarkably good at said thing, and suddenly our heads are turned – and we start to believe we are remarkably good at said thing too. Because people say so. That’s what I believe was Kanye’s downfall – his entourage or the people he surrounded himself with raised his opinion of himself; gave him a God-complex, bolstered and massaged his ego. And once that happens, whatever it was that made you gifted is suddenly suffocated and all you have to rely on is your conceit and belief that you are indeed wonderful. Which is why I’ve always adhered to the motto, ‘don’t believe the hype’. Because although arrogant people are often driven and sometimes (unfortunately for the rest of us) successful, remaining grounded is the only way you can maintain any real integrity. Once you believe you’ve reached your absolute peak, the top of your game, what is there left to strive for?

If we are now applying this principal to me (and let’s face it, it’s my blog and I usually do), I’d have to say I have always suffered with a fairly crippling lack of self-belief. I wouldn’t recommend this self-deprecating nature that I have, exactly, because it can be a bit of a barrier to achieving what you want to achieve. I’ve obviously always wanted to be a writer of some description, but the actual decision to share my work with the world came very late in life. I’d just turned 40 when I realised I couldn’t put it off anymore and that the fear of failure was just something that I was going to need to learn to overcome. Once you’re 40, you’ve already lived approximately half your life. You know your strengths and you certainly know your limitations. If I’m completely honest, I think I’m an ‘okay’ writer; nothing out of the ordinary, certainly not top of my game, but just about eloquent enough to get my point across. My main attribute is my sense of humour. I’m not the only writer in the world with a sense of humour, sure, but I try to use my quirkiness in everything that I do and as uniquely as I can. I’ve stopped trying to be something I’m not and use what I do have to my advantage. Because all I have to sell is myself (in a totally non-prostitute-type-way).

Now that my work is out there for pretty much anybody who cares in the world to view and judge, I have to say the response has been surprisingly positive. I felt quite sure I’d be torn to shreds by writers who are far better than me, but I guess the writing community isn’t actually like that. People tend to be supportive and give positive praise and feedback instead of negative; even offering badly needed technical tips (to my constant shame, I’m just not that tech-savvy). I get my fair share of criticism too, but that tends to come from closer to home (and I’m the one who chooses to place too much emphasis on my bad press, so that’s my failing). But mostly the reaction has been good. And I assure you, I truly appreciate it. However,  like I say -I’m in my 40’s and am quite familiar with all my faults, so I refuse to let it go to my head. I never allow my head to be turned. I’ve still a lot to learn and certainly a lot to prove.

I’m so glad I didn’t attempt to put my creative efforts out there to be seen when I was young. Even though I think I had potential, I certainly didn’t have the tools or the maturity to write anything of any great worth. I’m not saying that would be the same for anybody who happens to be young; some people are naturally gifted from a very early age – much more gifted than I am now. But it was certainly not the case for me. I’ve read back some of the stuff I wrote in my younger days and it was pretentious, self-indulgent sh*te (pardon my French). Perhaps it still is…eek. But that’s why I believe it’s sometimes dangerous to have too much success too early in life. When you’re young, you’re still learning your craft and if you are given too much too soon, then it’s easy, if you’re surrounded by the wrong people, to get too big for your boots. Having said that, Kanye isn’t that young anymore, so perhaps none of us are safe.

Anyway, I’m not here to Kanye-bash. I feel a bit sorry for him in some ways. In my eyes, if you once had talent, surely it can’t be completely obscured by your overly-inflated ego forever? Age and wisdom are going to have to prevail one day, right? I’m just saying, at least a modicum of modesty never did anybody any harm. It’s no good letting your self-doubt completely stifle your creativity either; I’ve definitely been very guilty of that. But sometimes it’s good to criticise yourself and take some of that praise with a pinch of salt. Are you really ‘all that’? Or are you just ‘that’? I try not to worry about it, as I intend on making a lucrative career out of mediocrity! Mind you, I have found that having a complete lack of any literary success whatsoever has always been extremely helpful in keeping me grounded. So you needn’t worry yourself about my massively out-of-control ego just yet.

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20 thoughts on “Don’t Believe The Hype

  1. Adele you could NEVER be labelled as thinking you are “all that” but you definitely deserve the positivity/praise that’s come your way since: A, you have a book published and another being polished for publication AND B, this fabulous blog which keeps us all entertained! So I say you are “the cats pyjamas” 😽👍💪 X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, thank you Lizzie😘! I wish I could take on board just a ‘little’ of that positive feedback but my overall negative demeanour won’t let me! It’s that old thing, 100 people in a room; 99 think you’re great and 1 doesn’t. You can’t help but obsess about the 1 person… But I do appreciate all the lovely things you readers say, that’s what keeps me going! x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. KANYE WEST
    I Miss The Old Kanye Lyrics
    New! Tap highlighted lyrics to add Meanings, Special Memories, and Misheard Lyrics…
    Download “I Miss The Old Kanye” Ringtone
    Advisory – the following lyrics contain explicit language:
    I miss the old Kanye, shit from the gold Kanye
    Talking ’bout the soul Kanye, set all his goals Kanye
    I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye
    The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye
    I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye
    I’d like to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye
    See I invented Kanye, there wasn’t any Kanyes
    And now I look and look around and there’s so many Kanye’s
    I used to love Kanye
    I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye
    What if Kanye made a song about Kanye
    Called “I miss the old Kanye”
    Man that would be so Kanye, that’s all it was Kanye
    We still love Kanye and I love you like Kanye loves Kanye

    Some lyrics from the new album…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a wonderful read. I have often wondered what I could of been if I had only knew what I wanted to be. When you find time running out, so to speak, there is a certain urgency that can overcome you if you let it. I also have wondered if I would view myself the same way of I suddenly came into money, would I be any different? I will decide after a shopping spree:) I love the way your mind works!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Adele, I very much like who you are – as a person, a friend, a writer, a blogger, a woman, etc. I’m still searching very, very hard for things I don’t like about you, but you’re making it so damn hard!

    No, you’re not a Shakespeare, but neither am I. Heck, no one but Shakespeare is Shakespeare! But my point is, you’ve got real, gen-yoo-ine talent, girl – yes, yes, even as a forty-something year old girl.

    Don’t worry, it seems to me you’re a far cry from having anywhere near as big an ego as KW or others appear to flaunt. The moment that changes, I’ll flip the script and start telling you how spit-awful you are and I’m surprised anyone even lets you get near anything resembling a keyboard. Fortunately, that isn’t the case, so I can go on lathering your somewhat emaciated ego with butter cream compliments and honey glazed praises.

    Trust me though, as much as I love ya, you’re only getting the truth out of me. 😉

    As far as your theory, I agree, at least partly. Michael Jackson suffered a lifelong ordeal with folks relentlessly fueling and stroking his ego. I think from very early on, he became heavily insulated against reality. The hype was fully bought, catalogued, and dined upon daily. But the originating fault in us all is made worse by a desperate need to believe what we’re sometimes told is true – whether due to vanity or fear.

    Fear I think at times leads to vanity (and vice versa) as a matter of insecurity, ignorance, and other sources of dysfunction. The same causes that make one person believe they are Napoleon make another feel like pubic enemy number one.

    Thankfully, Adele, you’re still somewhere in between. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well put, Mr Shaw (better than me, damn you😉!). But seriously, thank you for your kind words. Even though I’m usually more likely to believe the worst about myself, the positivity genuinely keeps me going. I wouldn’t carry on doing this if it wasn’t for you guys. Fact. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, we’re all learning (or hopefully so) all the time. And we all need help and support. God knows I need tons and tons! I wouldn’t be surprised if He has commissioned a whole battalion to rescue me from my shortcomings. And although often straight-laced repertoire may not reveal it, I like to think pretty attuned to your personality, sense of humor and general character – at least as much as has become apparent to me so far. In truth, even if you really don’t think so, I believe you’re a lot braver than you let on. You are a saucy, sassy, sarcastic lass for sure. And this definitely works for you, being yourself. Not to massage your ego, you’re adorable and I like you very much. One of the coolest folks on social media, I’d enjoy knowing you in person. Alas, circumstances and all that. 😏 In any case, I’m greatly amazed and pleased by how sharp and thoughtful you are – not just as a writer, but as a person overall. In fact, I’m sure it’s because you’re you that you’re so good at writing. You have a such a lovely, warm, fiery heart, Adele. I feel the authenticity every time I read your stuff.

        I’m starting to wonder now if I should stop before I hear a balloon pop!

        😀

        I have this image of that blueberry girl in Willy Wonka. (Oompa loompa dippity dee!)

        Okay, I’m being silly now, but I meant everything I said of course, so don’t forget what I said, young lady!

        Good morning! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again, an enjoyable read, Adele. It didn’t matter that I have no idea who this Ka(y)ne fellow is! I kept thinking of his imaginary brother Abel and a novel by another successful Archer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Phew! You nearly lost me as a reader at the start there Adele. I was waiting on you to say that you bought a pair of Yeezy shoes and how great value you thought they were, and then I would have been long gone. 😉

    If only I could spew out crap and have customers and cling-ons lapping it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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