One of my friends told me recently that I shouldn’t worry so much about what other people think. “Worry about what other people think?” I asked him. “Have you met me?”
I long ago stopped worrying about what other people think. That doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous about an essay I’m writing, and it doesn’t mean I’m not totally thrilled when someone tells me they like what I’ve written. We all care about stuff like that, and we’re lying if we say we don’t. What it means is that I don’t let my fears of what people will (or won’t) think dictate my actions.
I do what I want to do, regardless.
Otherwise, I’d never have done half the things I did. Because, let me tell you, a lot of people don’t like those things. And a lot of people judge. But they judge from armchairs. From safe distances. From places where it’s easy to point fingers and have opinions.
And if you worry about those people, the only place you’ll end up is in an armchair. Because it’s impossible to produce anything if you’re busy trying to please everyone. It’s even impossible to produce anything if you’re worrying about pleasing anyone.
The thing you have to do, as an artist or creator or whatever, is make what you want to make. Anything else will feel fake and inauthentic and is just a waste of everyone’s time. And some people will like it and some people will hate it, but what matters is that you did it, and that you didn’t give a fuck.
So if that means you want to get up on stage and take your clothes off, just to see what it feels like, do it.
If that means you want to write stories with bad words about people doing bad things, do it.
If that means you want to quit your job and move to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language because you want to be a full-time artist, do it.
If that means you’re going to move halfway across the world to go to graduate school in a town where you really don’t know anyone and you’re not exactly sure what you’re going to do with that degree when you get it, do it.
If that means being public about things most people would rather keep private, do it.
If that means making certain people uncomfortable, do it.
If that means disappointing your parents, do it.
If that means scaring yourself, do it.
And don’t worry about what other people are going to think. Because at the end of the day, if you’re faking it, there’s no point.