The Price of Validation

I am a writer. And so are you.

You can’t see whether someone is a writer or not, they don’t wear symbolic ties or rings. They look like everyone else, because they are everyone. To me, if you’ve ever written an essay, you are a writer. If you’ve ever gotten dressed in the morning, you are an artist. If you’ve ever cooked dinner, you are a creator. So basically everyone is a writer, and an artist, and a creator.

Publishers, record labels, art galleries, and other corporations don’t want to think that you are a creator – that your thoughts are good enough to be accepted and discussed – because they want to make money. They don’t want to make people who create, they want to make people who consume. The more people consume art, entertainment, and fashion, the less time they have to create their own and the more money the corporations make.

The business model for art and entertainment is that the creation of the product costs X amount of money. The more of the product you sell the more money you make, X stays the same. The more options for art and entertainment divides the market creating less profit for the corporation. Obviously, they want less people who create films, music, clothes, and books, and more people who watch, read, buy, or listen. The goal of these companies is to make a profit not make the world a better place.

Corporations keep the ratio between creators and consumers low through a rigorous validation system monitored by gatekeepers. Universities, publishing houses, record labels, museums, and studios are a few examples of gatekeepers. They determine whether a person’s thoughts are good enough to be heard. They have the power to validate your existence, to make you someone worth listening to.

Just look at the brief bios of people I found on Wikipedia. If you remove all of the awards. publishers, and labels of what type of thing they have created, there is nothing of substance.

Joanne Rowling CH, OBE, FRSL, FRCPE, FRSE, writing under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, philanthropist, film producer, television producer and screenwriter, best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series.

Google Search

Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, known professionally as Cardi B, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born and raised in The Bronx, New York City, she became an Internet celebrity after several of her posts and videos went viral on Vine and Instagram.

Google Search

George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, filmmaker and businessman. He is the recipient of three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, one for acting in Syriana and the other for co-producing Argo. In 2018, he was the recipient of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, at the age of 57

Google Search

Their biographies say absolutely nothing about what they actually do; they assume that you should care about them because they have been validated by the Golden Globes, the Internet, the Queen.

But what if you don’t care about that? What if you care about what kind of impact the person is trying to have in the world? What if you care about the issues they are working on? When I read the bios, I feel like because I haven’t been certified, I do not have permission to create or have an impact in the world.

They make me feel like I am not good enough, and so, instead of creating, I studied. I paid for a degree from the University of St Andrews, I paid for 9 writing workshops, I paid for over 200 events, I paid for over 300 books because I wanted to be chosen by the gatekeepers. I have probably spent $500,000 and 20,000 hours studying to impress the gatekeepers instead of trying to earn the respect of the people who care about me and who I care about.

The truth is I may not have a large impact, but every interaction I have has a small but significant impact on the lives of the people around me, which is actually having an impact in the world. Just like you do as well.

The gatekeepers just want money. They will not publish anyone’s creation unless it will make money. But what if you’re not trying to make money? What if you are just trying to share your ideas with your peers? What if you’re just trying to express yourself and do what you love?

Baby, we’re living in a patriarchal capitalist society – so you can either play the game or get played. Well, I’m done with being played.

Read the next post in the series “Solo Female Traveler”

Read the first post in the series “Hi Again”.

Check out the full list of blog posts “How to Value Your Own Thoughts”