The Wine Diaries-Editing For Approval

the wine diaries-self editing for approvalI used to get strange looks sometimes, usually after I said something without my filter in place. I would quickly retract and think about putting my filter on before speaking. I would edit myself for approval. That was a long time ago, when I was much older.

As a new wife, I utilized my social graces but I couldn’t ever tame my inner animal. I always spoke from my heart. My genuine personality was too much for superficial people. They tried to dim my shine. How? By giving me that look, by not engaging in an honest conversation, by turning away from my smile.

The clammy handshake and canapé should have tipped me off. There was little of substance here.

When my marriage ended, I was told in no uncertain terms, by an acquaintance, that ‘people’ were talking about me. I had shaken up the very fabric of my marital social world.


Although I felt a little awkward in the moment, thinking back I’m proud of it. I’m proud I took a chance and made the change. I escaped my cage, so to speak. I gave them something to talk about.

I’m a wild animal who isn’t meant for a cage. I’m crazy. I’m intuitive. I listen to my heart. I love to dance and sing. I tell the truth. I don’t always follow the rules.

Speaking of rules, my literary agent called me the other day. I told him about my short story collection and he asked how many words I have written. When I told him, he informed me that a short story collection has to be at least 50,000 words. But the words are meaningless if they make no sense or have no finesse. I’ll know when my short story collection is complete and it won’t be by counting words. Who set this rule anyway? Did I mention some rules are meant to be broken? The literary and publishing world have changed immensely. The author has gained more power and self expression is avant-garde. Of course, we still need professional editing but that’s not the same as editing for approval.

Freedom to think, speak and be is what I require to thrive. Who doesn’t? If you edit or cage me I won’t stay long.

I don’t seek to hurt anyone. I don’t try to sting with the truth. But I won’t stifle mine to spare someone else’s.

I hope that shines in my writing.

I’ve been told I’m heartless yet I wear my heart on my sleeve. My sweetness has been mistaken for weakness. Yet, I bite back. If I disagree with you and it’s something that matters to me, I’m going to tell you. You may not like it. You may not like me.

Yet, I won’t be caged. I won’t self edit.

I used to be more inclined to do as I was told. I remember one of my first bosses telling me not to ‘burn any bridges’, remember where you came from she said. It shook me a little. It took away my confidence in my decision to take a full time position elsewhere. She said those words as a warning. I used to listen to that nonsense. Today, if someone said that to me I’d be inclined to answer with something like this; ”I’ll decide to burn the bridge depending who’s on the other side.” I won’t stay in one place to simply maintain someone’s comfort. Not anymore.

I won’t self edit for anyone’s approval—anymore.

I have one more anecdote. Have you ever met someone who likes to make sarcastic remarks at your expense?

I remember my first painting instructor. I was in my mid-thirties and taking night classes at the University. His name was Les and he had an uncanny ability to say ‘ass-holey’ things. He was reviewing my work (which is kind of like an exam) and deciding whether I had sufficient skill to continue in the program. In that meeting I told him how much I wanted to commit to my art. I was going to try to make it a priority. You know what he said to me? “I feel sorry for your family.” His casual yet cutting words made me re-think my passion for art. Why did he feel sorry for my family? Was he suggesting that I couldn’t possibly have both art and a family? Les had a knack for shaking his student’s confidence. He did it to many of the students, I observed. I told a friend who was practically in tears after meeting with him, not to listen to his Bull shit.  She was super talented, too. That’s when I knew—he was stealing his student’s shine by putting them down. He was keeping his students in a cage. Don’t let the animals out because they may not listen to your instructions.

It’s a good thing I stopped trying to get his approval.

The thing is the world is full of Les’ who want to tame, cage or edit you. Their careless critiques and cutting words lead to unnecessary self editing…which leads to destroying what makes us unique.

But I won’t be caged. I won’t self edit. How about you?

I’m much younger now but I still wear my heart on my sleeve. I am sweet but strong. I’m an animal. I can’t be tamed. I’m not looking for approval anymore. I use my filter sparingly and I don’t mind the ‘looks’ I get. I leave it off to write. I leave it off to be me.

That said, I hope you like me…as in the words of Sally Field “You like me! You really like me…” In her defense, she had probably just eaten a canape and shaken many clammy hands.

Do you self edit or use a filter too often? Or are you a free, un-caged animal?

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40 Replies to “The Wine Diaries-Editing For Approval”

  1. “I won’t self edit for anyone’s approval—anymore.” Good for you! Totally agreed – I’ve never had a filter, but when I was younger I used to tie myself up in knots worrying about stuff I’d said – not any more. Now anyone that would have a problem with my point of view isn’t someone whose opinion I’m concerned about – I LOVE being an old!!

    1. Hi Claire, 🙂 I know I still use my filter but I try not to when I write plus, I reconsider using it in certain moments. Honestly, I’ve never been real great at it. I often speak my mind before I realize I may have offended someone or else it was taken the wrong way—sigh. Ya, getting older is a good thing!

  2. I’m working on less filtering of what I say. There’s such an ingrained tendency to always be nice and smiling though. It’s a hard habit to break, though being more forthcoming with words tends to garner better results when dealing with others in order to get what you want.

    1. Hi Jeri, Absolutely true: “There’s such an ingrained tendency to always be nice and smiling though…” I agree that being more honest or forthcoming with words will garner better results. It’ may not happen right away but in time. Thanks for sharing, Jeri!

  3. It’s just like how there are word count limits for flash fiction and short stories. Who ever decided these word counts? It’s silly.

    I’ve been told that I’m opinionated. What’s funny as that when I was younger, I would let people run all over me, use me, abuse me. I was shy and wouldn’t stick up for myself. But now that I’m stronger and speak my mind, I’m a b*tch. I’m only this way because of how I was treated. So sure, I guess I can be opinionated but I’m conscious of other people’s feelings. I’m also super kind and like you I wear my heart on my sleeve.

    The only approval we need is our own! 😉

    1. Being opinionated is a good thing, right? You know what you like. That’s great that you’re stronger and not afraid to speak your mind! And so you should. I can’t imagine ppl thinking you’re a bitch. I guess that’s what we get labelled when we’re outspoken. Self approval is the best to strive for. Thanks, Chrys!

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I love, love, love your words…freedom of thoughts, words and speech has always been my forte. Nothing, no looks or harsh words could ever intimidate me. Who are they to cage us?

    Yes, it is good to bite, only then do they realise who they are dealing with! We can be loving and kind without being fake. There should be some people with whom we can speak without any filters and those are the real friends, the real persons I like to interact with.

    Thanks for a terrific post, love you dear friend.

    1. Thank you, Balroop! I love your enthusiasm for this topic. I agree that the people we can talk with and leave our filter off are the best friends we could ask for! xoxo

  5. god i love this!!! lisa this is SOOOOO timely!
    you know me well enough to know filters aren’t my thing, but there was a time like you when acceptance was important to me. i minded my p’s &q’s and honestly i didn’t much care for me or the stifled company that i kept.

    i recently had a family member read my blog and tell me…
    you know if you cleaned up the unnecessary swearing and dirt talk you could be wildly popular and make money from your blog. you really turn off a lot of people with that kind of language.

    my reply was… we all express ourselves different. i love you unconditionally, but it sounds like you have conditions for me.
    i don’t need you to read my blog because i don’t write it for you, i write it for me.

    1. OMG, Tracie your blog is so much fun because you leave your filter OFF. Your reply was perfect 🙂 I always think, ‘if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. Go to a style site or something’ LOL. Acceptance was much more important to me when I was younger (older). I say I was older then because I feel younger now! Nice to hear your point of view, as always.

  6. Ahh, both. In some ways, it’s exactly what you said: “I’m a wild animal who isn’t meant for a cage. I’m crazy. I’m intuitive. I listen to my heart. I love to dance and sing. I tell the truth. I don’t always follow the rules.”
    And in other ways, I filter so much.. just to stay quiet and calm. I have been married for seven years but do I worry I’m too wild for it, and for him? Sometimes. Mostly not, though.

    1. I’m right there with ya, Tamara. I think we have to strike a balance. I just like to brag that I’m all free ‘n stuff but I still filter to keep the peace at times. Hugs!

  7. I do self edit, but only when it comes to making others feel like a million bucks. I think it’s especially important to keep things positive, whether the inner animal says we should lash out or not. Beyond that, I’m all for going wild.

    1. Hi Crystal, well I think we have to keep our wild animal side a little tame sometimes 😉 Glad to hear you let your wild side out!

  8. I catch myself doing it all the time. Because I want everybody to like me:) I know it’s silly. But at least, since turning 40 I started to be less and less dependent on people’s approval. I mean it took me a whole 40 years to start being myself!
    xx Abby

    1. Hey Abby, I used to be so much more that way. I can relate! I think it changes with each decade 🙂 Awesome, keep being yourself!

  9. *Standing ovation from Canada*
    For me, when I write, there is no filter. None. My husband or family or friends aren’t there going tsk tsk tsk or breathing down my neck telling me what’s acceptable. I own my pen and the keyboard and my words and the publish button and if people don’t like it, they can move on.
    However, in person — that’s different. I wish I had bigger balls 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Kim!! I LOVE that you write without a filter and I LOVE even MORE that your hubby, family and friends do not care one bit…You own it. You’re very inspiring, Kim. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Lisa,

    Love this post. I too am that wild animal that cannot be in a cage and so grateful I learned that lesson when I was younger. No one can tame me nor tell me how and what to do.

    I too will wear my heart on my sleeve, but screw me and the wild animal comes out to bite lol.

    Good for you! I love your high spirit and don’t you EVER change that!


  11. So so so good, this post, Lisa. I love everything about this. I used to self-edit a lot or try to get approval from the Les (plural “lesses?” funny, that) of this world. Ugh, I can’t believe he would say that to you–what a mean-spirited, awful and sad son of a bitch. But I can see how something like that would shake you. THANK GOD you used it as fuel to realize that there are just some people who don’t like to see others shine. That’s sad for them.


    1. Thank you, Charlotte! Me, too. Well, sometimes I would say things without thinking it through, not meaning to offend. Geez, I think some people just didn’t get me…Lesses LOL–funny. I’m glad you’ve come to realize you don’t have to self edit. it’s so freeing!

  12. You shine Lisa. And what? Some people don’t like it that much. Anyway we are not on earth to make others like or love us. We are here to be and express ourselves in the way we think is the right, the best for us.
    I don’t like people who put us down. They have no right to do so.
    No filter for this. If people don’t like what I have to say, they don’t have to listen or interact with me. Nobody is forced to think the same way as we do. It’s a matter of choice Lisa. Always.

    Good for you dear. Be free and be in love with life.
    Can’t wait to read your short stories by the way…
    Take care and stay this wild animal. The world need wild and strong and empowered women!

    1. Thank you, Marie! I love your attitude and true this: ” Anyway we are not on earth to make others like or love us…” Great observation. Stay wild!

  13. Good for you! I used to edit myself too. I was a pleaser and did what others expected of me. I seldom complained. Now that I’m older, I really don’t give a rat’s ass what people think of me. I say it like it is .If that offends someone, then I’m better off without him win my life. Letting go of negative people is the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

  14. Hey Lisa,

    Love this message and nope, I’m not caged either.

    I’m very opinionated and always speak my mind. Of course I do my best not to purposely hurt anyone’s feeling by what I say but I always tell them beforehand that if you don’t want my 100% honest opinion then don’t ask me. It’s only my opinion and not God’s word.

    In the past I’ve always been labeled a bitch because of my honesty but I’m very independent and I don’t make excuses. You either like me for who I am or you don’t, it’s really that simple. If you don’t then we would never be friends anyway so nothing’s lost right!

    Your art teacher sounds like such an ass but I’m glad you never let him hold you back.

    Thanks for this vote of confidence my dear.


    1. Adrienne, you’re awesome!! “I’ve always been labeled a bitch because of my honesty but I’m very independent and I don’t make excuses.” why do we have to Beyatches, just because we know what we want and don’t put up with crap? And yes, that art teacher was an ass but he got away with it b/c he hid his derision behind humor or sarcasm. Not cool, Les.

  15. Just love this post!! Lisa, I’m so glad you found your voice–your true, honest voice!!

    I remember feeling badly about people thinking or speaking badly of me. In fact, I’m pretty sure it still happens among my ex’s world. I think it’s normal to feel badly about that, because we are social beings, connections among humans is what makes us human.

    At the same time, I couldn’t edit, either. And I’ve learned to toughen up my skin and realize that I can’t please everyone, I can only stay true to what I think is the best path forward, for myself and my girls and my family.

    Some days, I’m really good at the tough skin, other days, not so much.

    So glad your’e there to inspire with your stories of strength and resilience! We are not alone! 🙂

    1. Hi Jane, thank you so much for your kind words. I feel I talk a big game but there’s still a part of me that cares and edits a little too much…I wish I could tell some people off but due to circumstances that wouldn’t be a good idea. When the time is right though, I will say exactly what I think 🙂 You say “Some days, I’m really good at the tough skin, other days, not so much.” I can relate to that so much! Good for you, Jane you’re on the right path!!

  16. Hi Lisa! I finally got around to read this and I’m so glad i did–I need to read it!!! I’m a bit of a paradox. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me but there are times when I’m about the wildest uncaged animal you’d ever meet. Other times I bring out the canapes in spite of my good intentions. I AM getting better and learning to “use” my filter instead of letting it use me. But I have a ways to go still. Thanks for the excellent encouragement. ~Kathy

    P.S. I can’t believe some of those people said those things to you!!!!!

    1. Hi Kathy, you made me smile with your comment b/c I used to be the one serving canapes—not so much now. I’m more likely to be dancing, singing and laughing LOL. I’m not Gemini but Libra and we have to find balance. Thanks for stopping over!

  17. I don’t think I’ve ever had a filter…or maybe it’s just broken. My ex thought I needed one. I tried for my marriages sake. But it never took.

    That art guy was an asshole.

    And I like you without a filter.

    1. Hi Liv, that sounds familiar. I think when we’re with someone who is always reminding us we’ve said the wrong thing, doesn’t laugh at our jokes and thinks we’re silly….it’s a sign b/c we need to be with someone that doesn’t think we need a filter.

      Ya, Les was a ______, and thanks for the vote of confidence on the no filter. I still use it once in a while 😉

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