This week I fell into a tizzy. I submitted the first 10 pages of my book Just a Girl From Kansas to a professional copy editor and she chopped out all the parts I felt were important. It wasn’t so much her suggested edits, but her deletions that got to me. I felt like she didn’t “get” me at all. I cried about it, I wrung my hands, I went into a tailspin questioning my abilities as a writer. Perhaps this copy editor knew better than I did. After all, she is a professional. Maybe I better listen to her and disregard my intuition.
. . .
No. Just no. Copy editing, like all other relationships, requires the right match. I sent the first 10 pages to a former colleague of mine, who’s also a copy editor, and she got it. She got me. I wasn’t bothered by her changes because she kept my heart intact. I didn’t feel threatened or insecure. I felt pretty comfortable, actually. Obviously my former colleague is a better match for me.
Prior to this experience, I thought a copy editor was a copy editor was a copy editor. “You mean they’re not interchangeable? You mean they don’t all do the same thing?” No, silly girl, everyone is different and does things differently! I mean of course I had to find the right person to copy edit my book. Just like I’ve had to find the right person with all my relationships.
I used to think just any person could be my best friend. As long as they said I was their best friend and they were mine, nothing else mattered. I didn’t care so much about the person as the role they played. The role was the most important part for me. I had an empty cast list I needed filling. “Pull ‘em off the street! I don’t care!”
Perhaps it’s a part of growing up, or building self-esteem, but I’m not interested in contorting myself to please others anymore. I’m not interested in compromising myself just to keep someone else around. Just so I can check off a box in my cast list. Because the right person really does make a difference. The right person really is worth waiting for. I can spend time gnawing at my fingernails and kowtowing to other people, or I can say, “No thanks,” and find someone who meets my needs. My part is feeling OK with the blank space.
I’m not going to regale you with the beauty of waiting for the right person and how it’s so much better when you do, because we’ve all heard it before. What I will say is I’m worth it. I’m worthy of waiting for the right person. I have enough self-esteem to say “No” to people and situations that do not serve me. I have value and my feelings matter. How I feel means something and I don’t need to justify myself to anyone else or try to bend my will to theirs when it feels wrong.
The role is not most important. The person is. So I’m willing to wait. I’m willing to wait for what I want. I’m willing to let go of the people who aren’t it while I keep searching for the person who is. I’m willing to be OK with the vacancies because I know, even from this small example, the incorrect match is far more painful than not having anyone at all.
I dream of a world where we are willing to wait for the right person for all situations. A world where we have enough self-esteem and pride that we trust ourselves and our intuition. A world where we’re content with waiting because it’s far less painful than wearing shoes that pinch your toes.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.