Ask Baba Yaga: How Do I Get Over the Shame I Feel For My Work?

the boulder

Transcript after the jump.

Dear Baba Yaga,

For years I have been working on a project that I detest. I am ashamed of its quality, and that I did not listen to my gut and pursue work that I loved. Soon I will be publicly associated with this work, including having to present it to a group of people I admire. I just want to put this episode behind me and learn from it, but I am terrified that I will be too traumatized by the public presentation to do any meaningful work once it is done. How can I minimize feeling ashamed and paralyzed?


You have been hauling ) an ugly boulder behind you for a long time . To show it
to others, to say, “here is a boulder” is not to tie it closer to you, & when you leave it by the side of the road ; it will just be another boulder, no uglier (in truth) than any other, & few will take notice of it. :For the boulder has become many more things to you than it is in itself — you have seen faces & shapes in its surfaces that are not there, & once you are far away from it you will stop giving life to it, & it will be pebbly & still in the distance.

Previously: “How Do I Overcome the Intense Insecurity I Feel Around My Best Friend?”

Taisia Kitaiskaia is a poet, writer, and Michener Center for Writers fellow. She’s taking questions on behalf of Baba Yaga at