In 2004 I graduated with a 3.89 GPA from one of the highest rated private colleges on the west coast. And I did so, while parenting eight children, six of whom had some kind of special need. My final semester I managed 25 credits at two different colleges, picking up some missing credits at the local community college so I could complete my B.A. in the four year time slot I’d given myself.
I’m smart. I’m capable. I’m a survivor…and I know this about myself. Without doubt. I feel good about my accomplishments and I’m proud of who I am. I say that…with confidence.
And yet, on a daily basis, I question myself. I experience self-doubt over everything. And I continually assume people are looking down on me for something, anything, everything.
It’s called self-value and though most days I feel quite solid, the smallest, most meaningless comment from someone…even a stranger…brings up in me once again, that lack of confidence I carried as my shield and crutch, for so many years.
It has been my constant companion, these four decades, and I’m tired of it.
I don’t dress fancy. I don’t own a dress. I don’t spend more than sixteen seconds on my hair and my mascara tube has long ago dried up. And more often than not, I’ve coffee dribbled down the front of my shirt just seconds before walking into a meeting, like I did this morning. My words don’t come out the way I want them to and I worry I sound “backwoods” when I speak. My thoughts, though they make perfect sense inside my head, often come from my mouth in seemingly some illogical jumble of miscommunication and I wonder if I sound like the incompetent child that is hiding inside.
And then I want to crawl back into the hole of hiding, behind the shield of protection I carry, where nobody can judge me and where I can again, feel good about myself.
I wonder, as do so many I hope, how to heal those old scars. How to finally feel like a “grown-up”. How to place myself on an even plane with the rest of the world.
It’s interesting, actually, how others seem to ooze self confidence while I pretend to do the same, all the while feeling like a little girl dressed in her mother’s high heels, playing grownup and hoping nobody notices I’m not what I pretend to be. I’m wondering how long before the world catches on that I’m really just twelve, in a grown-up shell, still lost and floundering, not knowing what I want to be when I grow up.
And I say these things not so people will tell me good things, or pump my ego with cry’s of support. I say them because they are real, these annoyances of self-doubt that run my life. They are inside me…and I wonder if I’m the only one.
Tell me I’m not the only fairly successful, confident person out there who struggles with this. Tell me, now that I’m in my forty’s, that this will go away!
Tell me…I’m not crazy!