by Meggie Royer
“We are the daughters of the feminists who said, ‘You can be anything,’ and we heard, ‘You have to be everything.’”
I know I don’t have to be everything. But sometimes, admittedly, it still feels that way. As someone who works three jobs (author, small business owner, and groundskeeper at my college) while also managing my own magazine, volunteering for two other magazines, attending college as a full-time student, and going to treatment twice a week, it’s almost impossible not to feel pressured to be everything. In this day and age, being busy has become an art. The art of sleep deprivation, the art of I can work longer and better than you, the art of I have two internships and you only have one, etc. In some sense, we are all continually forcing each other to be everything.
But as a young businesswoman and advocate for the rights of survivors of abuse and mental health issues, I want more understanding. I want more people to understand that I can’t be everything all the time. I can’t answer every single question that gets thrown at me on my writing blog, or send out every print and mug and poster exactly on time. I can’t always answer business emails the same day they reach my inbox, or always get back to you about that play or class project or debate you want to use one of my writings for. I wish I could. But sometimes just getting out of bed is enough for one day.
My business and my craft might directly correlate with one another, and each one is not possible without the other, but that sometimes the business side of my writing will outweigh the actual creating side. Bills need to be paid. Still, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t remind me that “You used to write so often, now it’s all self-promotion and discount codes and marketing pitches.” Sometimes that’s really just the way it has to be.
I hear from so many other young female writers that they want to be “famous,” or more known than they already are, why is it taking so long, why are there so many things in the way, why can’t they just be somebody by now for goodness sake?
The answer is that they already are. We women, we struggling young women, who do the dishes and go to school, have arguments with our lovers, sift through spreadsheet after spreadsheet, manage meetings, fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, forget how to laugh, we are beautiful in all our disarray. All our muddled selves. All our confusion at how life works and how to make it big, or make it better. We need to give ourselves a break too.
Instead of telling ourselves we need to do everything, we need to tell ourselves we are doing the best we can.
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, Winter Tangerine Review, Chanter Literary Magazine, Literary Sexts Volume 1, Hooligan Magazine, and Rib Cage Chicago Literary Magazine. In March 2013 she won a National Gold Medal for her poetry collection and a National Silver Medal for her writing portfolio in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She also has two published poetry books, Survival Songs and Healing Old Wounds with New Stitches.