If I believed in it, I would think my family has been cursed. How so? About a week before my mom’s accident, my 14-year-old cousin was in the hospital with road rash. Then my mom got hit by a car. Then my uncle (my cousin’s dad, by the way) was admitted to the hospital with chest pains and a high pulse rate (they diagnosed him with stress, and put him on blood pressure medication). On Sunday night, my nephew was taken to the emergency room with a fever of 104. (He’s fine, just has a bad virus.) And yesterday, it was my turn.
I’m 19 days into my Creativity Challenge and after a stellar first week where major writing was happening and I felt my writing mojo come back, everything has seemed to come to a screeching halt. I don’t have any desire to open my writing, my thoughts are jumbled, and I feel like I’m slipping farther and farther away from the writer I want to be.
I think the problem ultimately stems from the fact that I really don’t know what kind of writing I want to do. I flip-flop between Christianity and mainstream. From chick lit to romantic suspense to tween fiction. I feel like I have all these amazing ideas and all these amazing characters who want their stories heard, yet I can’t find it in myself to pick just one story, stick with it, and write.
If I were to just sit down and write all the story ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for the past few years, I’m sure the number would be in the 30’s. Some of those stories are lame and I need to just trash them. Some of those stories would require hours and hours of research and interviews to make it authentic. Some of those stories seem so good, they make my head spin. And they all fall under some different type of genre.
For all intents and purposes, I want to write for a Christian publisher. I know the types of books I want to write will be centered around faith and the struggles that entails. I don’t want to write cheap Christian fiction, where the protagonist never seems to struggle much with real faith issues, such as purity and this tug-of-war played with worldly ideals. I want to write a different type of Christian fiction, something I haven’t seen too much in Christian novels.
Since that’s settled, I now have to figure out what story I want to write.
- Do I want to write a chick-lit novel, which means writing with a lot more sass and humor than I usually do. My personality is perfect chick lit, but honestly, I can never seem to get my sassy personality to show in my blog. I feel like I’m much more subdued and serious on my blog. (Am I? Or am I sassy?!) I have tons of good ideas for this one but I really feel that it takes a special writer to write good chick lit. And I consider good chick lit to fall under Judy Baer and Kristen Billerbeck stock. (And if you haven’t read a book by them, you are missing out.)
- Maybe I want to write for a teen audience. Deep inside of me, tucked in a place that nobody gets access to, is this passion for teenagers. It’s a small flame and something I don’t talk about a lot. There’s just something about teens, especially ones who struggle with faith, that gets to me. If I wrote a book for this audience, it would definitely be a little risky since I want to talk about real issues that real teens face. I don’t want to sugarcoat anything, just because it’s Christian fiction.
- There’s a part of me who wouldn’t mind writing a more romantic type of story, a la Denise Hunter and Rachel Hauck. A story with a more serious side to it, but devoid of all the cheesiness many romance novels have. Just a powerful story about redemption and love.
I’m still not sure what my niche is. And I’m not sure how I can keep writing if I don’t know this very vital part of my writing. But I do have a more concrete idea of what three genre’s interest me the most.
Now it’s up to me to just write. I have stories. I have an abundance of stories. Now I need to dig through these stories and find the one that suits me the best and I feel I can write the most honestly about.
As I mentioned last week, I’m drowning in credit card debt. It feels surreal to think that, to know that I jumped off the deep end when it comes to finances and ended up here.
All throughout my life, my parents struggled with money. We shouldn’t have struggled with two working adults, but with my dad’s gambling problem, we did. He would gamble away his paycheck and my mom was left to pay all our bills and extra expenses on her daycare teacher’s salary. It wasn’t easy. We were evicted out of many apartments. I learned at an early age the concept of money and the fact that we didn’t have a lot of it. I never told my mom that I wanted to be in Girl’s Scouts or join a baton-twirling team (every year, we would be given information to join a team. Stop laughing.) because of the money issues. As much as I loved going on field trips, I hated letting my mom know she would have to fork over some money to pay for it.
The truth is, we weren’t destitute. We never went hungry, we always had a place to stay, and we always got new clothes at the beginning of school. I just had innate understanding that we were always struggling and didn’t have a lot of extra money laying around. I knew I couldn’t ask my mom for a new outfit every week and I was sixteen before I had my first cell phone.
I promised myself that I would never find myself in debt. I would work hard to make sure I never made the same mistakes as my parents. Credit cards would not even be an option for me. I would be financially stable.But I slowly began accumulating my credit cards. In May 2006, after I opened up a checking account with my bank, they gave me the option of starting a credit card. I talked it over with the financial adviser and my mom and decided to do it, only because it would help my credit. Over the next two years, I was extremely responsible with it. I would use it and then pay it off every month. I was never late on a payment.
In the spring of 2008, I was outside of Old Navy one Sunday with my mom, waiting for it to open. My mom had recently gotten an Old Navy credit card for $300 and gosh darnit, it was warming up outside! I wanted some new, summery clothes! (Probably not the best way to go about applying for a credit card…) I thought I would get a credit card around $300-$500. Never would I expect getting approved for a $2,500 credit card.
Right there, I should’ve put on the brakes. Aside from school loans, I had never been responsible for that amount of money in my life. And not only was it a lot of money, it was a credit card with a lot of money. Even. Worse. Over that spring and summer, I fluctuated between jobs and the job I did have didn’t offer me a lot of hours. (Plus, that was the summer that gas was close to $4.00 a gallon and I was traveling up to Tampa for a class twice a week.) So I was using that credit card like it was going out of style and paying the minimum payment every month.
But I was paying it. Every month.
In August 2008, a few weeks before I was supposed to start my final internship, I applied for a Target credit card to buy some more professional clothes for teaching. Like the Old Navy card, this is also a card decision I made spur of the moment and it wasn’t a good idea. Luckily, I was only approved for $300 but I quickly used that up. The interest rate is ridiculous and I’ve been late quite a few times, giving me $30 extra a month I have to pay.
The only card I’ve paid on time consistently is my bank credit card. The other two have been maxed out repeatedly. I’m working towards paying off my Target credit card as it’s the one with the lowest balance and would be the easiest to pay off. My Old Navy credit card is with a collection agency – something that makes my heart break in two every time I think about that.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve done little to get myself out of credit card debt. From August 2008 – February 2009, I was out of work and that’s when my cards got out of hand. I still managed to pay my Target and bank credit cards every month, since the minimum was $10-$20. But for my Old Navy credit card, with a minimum payment of $80, I couldn’t do it. So I would pay when I could, but it was never consistent. And even when I started working again, I didn’t do the responsible thing and put a lot of money towards my credit cards. Part of it was our finances, we were living above our means and I had to help out. Part of it was school, having to pay for my own books and part of my tuition.
So that’s the past. That’s what I’ve done and how I’ve gotten to where I am now. I’m focused on getting in control of my debt and getting rid of these credit cards. (Well, I am looking to keep my bank credit card since I do still want to have a card for my credit.) Kyla has mentioned considering a consolidation loan a few times. The word loan sounds like a dirty word to me, and the word consolidation sounds too financial for me to contemplate. So I just brushed her off the first time, thinking I don’t really have that much in debt. (That’s always a scary way of thinking. Any debt is too much.)
I talked it over with my mom this weekend and it sounds like a pretty good idea. The way she explained it was that if the bank were to give me a CL, they would pay off my credit cards and then I would owe them the money they paid. It would be taken straight out of my account each month. It really sounds like a great idea because there are times it feels so overwhelming to think of how much debt I have to pay and the fact that I have to deal with a collection agency.
I’m thinking seriously about applying for the loan. I think it would help me get this whole debt mess straightened out and give me a solid plan to paying it off.
Have you ever gotten a consolidation loan? Have you ever been in any kind of debt? How have you gotten out of it?
Lately, I’ve been all about challenging myself, taking risks, and seeing myself succeed. I want to stop burrowing in my shell when opportunities for growth arise. I’m still very far away from the girl I want to be. I don’t seek out opportunities and more often than not, I turn down exciting adventures that will help me grow as a person.
But then sometimes, I put my mind to something and I achieve it. Sure, maybe to you a hair cut and color job isn’t a big deal. Maybe it’s something you think is a little cheesy and self-promoting. But to me, this signifies something big. I didn’t have a lot of people supporting this decision and it was really something that I had to do for me. To show myself that I can take a risk and it can pay off. Or maybe it can’t, but at least I took the risk.
Locks of Love is a charity that I fully support and feel a passion for. With this charity, people donate their hair which will then be made into wigs for kids with cancer or other diseases that cause hair loss. The main criteria is that it’s unbleached and at least 10 inches long. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to donate my hair to this charity. But my hair doesn’t grow very fast and I would always get annoyed with my hair length and cut it off before I could grow it out to be long enough.
But I made a decision to cut my hair off. Donate it to Locks of Love. And do something good for a change.
And let me tell you, it was not easy to keep growing it out, especially as it got hotter and hotter outside. Long hair is not conducive to Florida summers. I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail more than ever in these past few weeks. But I did it.
And then I decided to do something absolutely crazy with my hair. I was going to dye it blonde. While I had been blonde as a child, it slowly grew darker and darker in middle and high school, until it was this weird blondish-brownish color. The first time I colored my hair was when I was 19 years old. My mom didn’t want me coloring my hair until I was at least 16 and by then, I was at this weird stage of Wanting To Be Different. So while all the girls around me were dying their hair and doing kooky things to it, I kept it long and my natural hair color.
I’ve been coloring my hair the same color for the past 3 years. I felt like it was time for a change. Something drastic. Something I would either hate or love. And I decided to go blonde. Even if I hated it, I wanted to try out being a blonde for a season. (And much love to Mandy for telling me “It’s just hair!” whenever I expressed doubts.)
Today, I did it. I chopped off close to 13 inches of hair in total (11 of it going to LoL). And I can now be classified as a blonde.
Some before pictures:
And now…the new Stephany
My nose is too big. My teeth are too small. My smile is too narrow. My belly curves too much. My collarbones don’t stick out. My legs are too short. My eyes are too small. My arms are too large. I slump when I sit. My eyesight is horrible. My hair is never smooth and straight for very long. My face resembles that of a fifteen-year-old.
I’m constantly worrying about getting the pregnancy question when people look at my belly. I’m horrible at small talk. I don’t fit in with any specific group. I feel uncomfortable in bars and clubs. I hold myself back. I fear change. I don’t believe in myself. I can’t take a compliment.
Bottom line: I don’t love myself.
When I look in the mirror, 9 times out of 10, I’m cringing at the way my hair has curled or the way my make-up has made my face look greasy or the way my body looks in that specific outfit.
Last week, Kerri wrote this amazing post on self-acceptance. Self-acceptance has never been something that has come easily for me. I was never the popular girl in school. I’m not the type of girl that gets a second glance by a guy. I’m not the one who can shine by herself.
I just feel so ordinary. So frumpy. So lost in a sea of beautiful people.
But I want to stop the negative self-talk. I want to stop dwelling on what I hate about my body and begin embracing it for what it can do for me. I want to look in the mirror and smile at myself, because I am me and nobody else in the world will ever have the same thoughts, feelings, personalities, and quirks like I do. There may be some things I can’t change about myself, since I would never undergo plastic surgery unless it was a necessity. There may be some things I can, by taking better care of myself. I was given this body by God. The man who created the mountains and the stars and the planets also formed me. He created me to be just the way I am, foibles and all. He didn’t want me to compare myself to other people, to wonder why I wasn’t good enough. He wants me to be confident in myself, sure of who I am in Him, and to shower love on other people.
I can’t shower love on other people, if I’m not even sprinkling any on myself.
I want to embrace my large nose, because I inherited from my dad’s side of the family. It’s German and it’s part of me. I want to stop worrying about my smile and just let a goofy grin slip onto my face, because I know it makes others feel good. I want to treat my body better so that belly curve doesn’t make me feel so self-conscious any more, but know that it’s what is inside me making me beautiful, not a flat tummy. I want to embrace my short legs because they are powerful and can do amazing things, like run a mile and endure a 30-minute Jillian Michaels workout. I want to embrace these arms, though they may be large, because they have the power to calm a child down, sooth a baby, and lift heavy weights. I want to stop dwelling on my terrible eyesight which requires me to wear glasses or contacts, because it’s just another thing linking me to the women in my family. I want to love my hair that will never be as silky smooth as a movie star’s, because it’s still beautiful and it’s still part of me. I want to take better care of my body to clear up my face, but not worry that a pimple here and there has any effect on my outward attitude.
I want to love myself. I want to love every aspect of me. I want to love the good and the bad.
So here goes. Operation: Love Myself. I’m going to stop with the negative talk. I hate when other people talk badly about themselves, so why should it be any different for me? I need to learn how to become my own best friend. I need to love me.
Growing up, I had two hobbies: reading and writing. I would devour The Baby-Sitter’s Club, Sweet Valley Twins, The Magic Attic Club, The Boxcar Children, The Gymnasts, etc. (Quality reading, I know.) The maximum number of children’s book you could check out at one time was 10. Every Saturday, I would check out 10 books, go home and read the first chapter of all of them, then put them in alphabetical order and read those ten books by the time the next Saturday rolled around.
I had notebook after notebook filled with potential stories. I’m always way more interested in creating characters and setting up their backgrounds than actually writing the stories. I wish there was a job market for that! I would get the 5-subject notebooks so I could create 5 different stories. Every once in a while I would actually begin to write the stories and I finished a few (pretty lame) ones.
I’ve never been able to stop reading and writing. Although, with this semester, I haven’t opened up a story in months which is very rare for me and I’m just itching to return to it. I read about 2 novels a week and I’m still a big fan of the library. (Why pay for books when I can get them for free?) I love perusing bookstores as well, but there’s just something special about libraries for me. They hold a unique place in my heart.
When I was younger, there was never a doubt in my mind that one day I would be a published author. I didn’t know if I would write children’s books or adult fiction, but I did know I would write. I would marry and become a stay-at-home mom, writing in my spare time. I never had illusions of being famous but knew I had millions of stories floating around in my head that needed to be told. I would tell them and all of my dreams would come true.
I now know it’s not that easy. Breaking into the publishing world is hard. Writing an entire novel that grips people from start to finish, develops characters successfully, and instills the right visual imagery? Even harder. I don’t have grand illusions anymore that writing novels can become a full-time job for me. I know that even published writers work other jobs, or their husbands work overtime or second jobs to keep food on the table.
But the drive is still in me. I know I have what it takes to become a writer, even though I’m not freelancing as much as I should, going to writing conferences, or even writing for my school newspaper. These are all things that aid writers in furthering their career and gain them positive experience in the writing field. I need to be doing these things.
I still have ideas that are itching to get out. I have so many stories that need to be told. God has just totally laid it on my heart that He wants me to glorify Him in this way. (Or maybe it’s just MY will.) Once I started my journalism path, I felt that I was living in God’s will for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t stumbling as much as I used to and when I got kicked down, it was easier to get up.
I’m on the right path. Now it’s just up to me to start turning down the right roads that will lead me to the published path.
It should come as no shock that I have a hard time trusting people. I think it all boils down to the age-old nature vs. nurture debate. In reality, I know it’s just my nature to be this way. I’m a very cautious person and I’m not a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. And I think my relationship with my dad and subsequent males has nurtured me to be even more cautious about what I share and to whom.
I don’t give my heart out easily. I have walls erected around this small, beating heart of mine that are higher than most people care to reach. I haven’t met too many people in my life willing to break them down. In fact, I find it pretty amazing that I’ve been able to share as much of my life with my co-worker, Stephani, as I have. She doesn’t know the nuts and bolts of everything I deal with but she knows a lot. The fact that she even knows about my dad is a big step in the right direction.
I’m just not the type to speak freely about my past experiences and my life. I’m very cautious about what I give away to other people. It takes a long, long time for me to talk to anyone about my life. Most people don’t know I have a terrible relationship with my father, or how much I struggle with sin. They don’t know how vast my love of football is or what ticks me off. I keep everything locked up so tightly inside of me. It begs to be let out but I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t put myself out there and let people know the real me. The real me is completely different than the person I appear to be. She doesn’t cover everything up with a joke. She has scary questions about her faith that never seemed to be answered in the Good Book. She has no self-esteem and struggles daily with thinking she’s never going to be good enough.
The thing is, God knows the real me. He knows exactly the girl I’m portraying to be and the girl that I really am. He knocks at my heart-door every single day, just waiting for me to take a chance on Him. But I’m scared. I am so scared of what putting my whole trust in Him will do to me. I’m so scared of how He will change me. I’m scared of not wanting to be this girl anymore. I’m scared that the plans I have for myself look nothing like the majestic plans He has created for me.
How does a girl with so many complex daddy issues like me put her trust in a God like Him? He becomes another father figure to me, although He is the Ultimate Father Figure. He promises to not let me down, yet I’ve never known a time in my life where a man hasn’t let me down. He promises to love me unconditionally, yet I’ve only felt the conditional love from males. He promises to always be there for me, yet I’ve never known a man to keep his promises.
I know God is vastly different from mortal men. But until you struggle with the father issues that I’ve dealt with, it’s really hard to understand where this trust issue comes from. Even those who haven’t had a father figure. Sometimes I just wish my dad had left me when I was younger. I wouldn’t have had to deal with his daily berating of me, or his anger, or even the good times when I got a glimpse of what a good father is supposed to look like.
I want to put my trust in God. I want Him to have my heart. I want to know Him better and fall deeply in love with the Savior who died for me. I’m just at a loss of how to do that.
I wasn’t looking forward to this semester. I remember coming home from work on my winter break, about a week before the semester was going to start up, and dread filling the pit of my stomach as I envisioned another semester of college. Fall semester was pretty rough and I knew I was probably overloading myself with Spring semester. I really had no clue how difficult this semester would really be. I had no clue how exhausted I would be. I had no clue that sleeping in on weekends would no longer be an option for me.
The truth is, I have to don a different hate at least 2-3 times a day. I go from one extreme to the other, with no time to rest or catch up. Emotionally? It’s exhausting.
Stephany, the Pre-School Teacher
I’ve been working at the pre-school I’m at now for over a year now. The job has been good to me. It’s not easy but it feels like such an escape from my real life. I work with two- and three-year-olds and honestly, I love it. I love the funny conversations I have with the kids, the hugs and kisses they give me, and the challenges they provide me with. It is an exhausting job but it’s a good exhausting. I feel like I’ve been challenged in a different way that doesn’t involve school at all. I get to escape to a place where Dora rules the Universe, potty-training is the biggest headache, and a hug can solve all problems. I say the words “my friends” and “potty” and “nice touches” more in my 5 hours there than I do for the rest of my day.
The hard part about my job is that I have to be fully committed. If I have an exam right after work, I can’t study for it during my time there. I start at 6:30am and have at least 1-2 children there by 6:35am. From then on, I’m preparing the classroom for the day, greeting kids as they come in, and making sure the kids are behaving. I have to be on the ball 24/7. My mind is constantly working and never slows down.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I leave work at 12pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I leave at 10:30am. And then I have 30 minutes (of which I’m driving to campus) to morph into…
Stephany, the College Student
I love being a college student. I love my campus, I love my classmates, and I love the challenges schoolwork brings me. But it can be really, really hard to switch off the mind of a teacher to one of a student. I have to forget about work and anything that stressed me out about it and focus on my schoolwork. I have to prepare myself for working on my magazine or studying for my next law exam or writing a paper.
This has become the biggest part of “me” lately. Because when I’m home, 85% of the time, I’m working on homework. I only have 4 weeks left of this semester, but I’m signed up to take 4 summer courses and then 4 courses in the fall, which will (HOPEFULLY!) be my last semester as an undergrad. This semester has been rough on me but I’m managing.
I have class Monday-Thursday. Monday, I only have one class at 12:30pm and then I’m done for the day. On Wednesday, I have class at 12:30, internship at 2pm, and then my night class at 6pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have class at 11am, and then I head straight to my internship at 1pm. I only have 15 minutes between the end of my class to morph into…
Stephany, the Marketing Intern
I have to admit, I really love my internship. It doesn’t involve a lot of journalism but I’m learning so much about advertising and marketing and just theater life in general. I’ve been challenged and taken on fun projects. I was just given a project to work on yesterday that I’m super stoked about. I’m a quiet person in general and very quiet at my internship. I don’t engage in a lot of small talk and just get in there and do my job.
This place is just so completely different than any other area of my life. It’s so different from being a pre-school teacher (MILES different!) and so different from my school life. This is a professional atmosphere with professional people. They are all busy, busy, busy preparing for the next shows and making sure everyone is happy. They’re inspiring and I can’t wait to one day have the ability to have a fast-paced career like they have.
But it’s different. It’s a different atmosphere and I almost get an out-of-body experience working there. I have a cubicle that I share with the other two interns. I have a computer I work on. I even have a paper-cutter all to myself! (Don’t be too jealous.) It’s fun stuff. But once I leave this place (at least on Tuesdays and Thursdays), I get to be the person I love most. I get to be…
Stephany, the Girl
Stephany the girl is who I really am. When I’m just being me, I’m in my element. I get to be funny and sarcastic. I get to be serious and sensitive. I get to blog and read blogs. I get to laze around and watch TV. I get to run and do yoga. I get to play with my dog and get the sweetest puppy kisses. I get to mess around with my brother and play with my nephew. I get to listen to Christian rock music on full blast and shop for things I don’t really need. I just get to be me.
But maybe all these facets are just little pieces of me that add up to a whole Stephany. All of these things are growing me into the woman I will one day become. It’s been a challenging semester and I have stretched myself pretty thin. But I love it. I love the things I’m experiencing and the challenges that I’m being presented with. I love how much I am growing and maturing through this semester. I love how I’m existing on little sleep, though I know I couldn’t do this for the long haul. I love how busy I am. I’m finding my purpose in my life. I’m finding out just how strong I am. I’m finding out I am capable. I can take on challenges and succeed. Ultimately, I’m finding myself through this craziness.
Well, not really.
See, my prayer life has been non-existent for, oh, the last 6 months? Or maybe even longer. Except for those quick, “Oh, please Jesus, let me make it to class on time,” I don’t send many prayers up towards Heaven these days.
I have this real problem with gullibility and it makes me question everything I believe about my faith. Which I think is good, in a way. I don’t think we should ever get too comfortable in our faith and I also think we need to have a reason why we believe what we do. It’s not enough for me to say, “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.” I want to dig deeper into my faith and know why this is true.
But when I read the Bible, it seems all my questions and doubts make their nasty way into my head where I can’t even read a simple Proverb without questioning it’s rightness. And I do believe the Bible is the ultimate truth and nobody will ever tell me different. (So don’t even try.) But it’s been tough going with my faith lately.
I know I need to start searching for answers and I am desperately seeking a mentor who can guide me through the Bible and all it’s nuances. And I desperately need to rebuild my relationship with Jesus. Because as much as He’s pursuing me and looking after me, I keep turning the other way.
Which brings me back to my first point. I noticed in the past months, I was telling other people whenever they were facing some sort of hardship that I was praying for them. And I’m not. I hate being this honest but I’m hoping this blog post will be cathartic in some way to me, which is why I’m writing it. Whenever someone tells me, they’re praying for me, it lifts my spirits. It bolsters me and I hate, hate, hate that I would do that to someone and not pray for them.
So I’ve stopped saying it. I can’t lie anymore and tell you I’m praying for you, no matter how perfect it seems to fit in the moment. And maybe a lot of you aren’t as naive as I am. Maybe when you hear someone tell you that they’re praying for you, you just smile but don’t sink deep into the meaning of their words. But I can’t do it anymore. I can’t say I’ll do something as important as praying and not do it. It seems so incredibly wrong to me.
I am working on my relationship with Jesus. It’s slow going, mostly on my part. But I have started a prayer list and I do want to start intently praying for people who need it. Even if they don’t believe in it, I want to pray for them. So I wrote this blog and I’m a little nervous about the comments I’ll get. But I had to write it. I had to write down my feelings and put it all out there.
Praying for you? I will.
And no, I’m not talking about religious belief. I’m talking about self-belief. And the fact that I have none.
I went to a information meeting about my school’s newspaper a week ago. Although I know that I don’t want to work for a newspaper when I graduate, I still think it would be an awesome opportunity for me and look good on my resume. (Because, after all, isn’t that why we all try so hard?)
I left the meeting with mixed emotions. On one hand, I was extremely excited and looking forward to submitting my application and becoming a part of the staff. But on the other hand, weighing a lot more, were the doubts that crept into my mind.
In the meeting, there were people who seemed so much more capable than me to be a part of the newspaper. They were throwing out ideas left and right, getting involved, and asking question after question. And there I sat, quiet and doubtful.
Could I really be a part of the newspaper staff? Was I good enough?
This is probably the first time I’ve ever admitted this. And maybe it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it for what is is.
I don’t believe in myself.
And I long to come across as a self-assured, twenty-something. A girl who has experienced life, it’s highs and lows and has come out with a positive attitude. I want to be a girl who believes she can do anything she sets her mind to. But the truth is, I’m not.
I saw this last semester where I got 100% on every single paper I wrote in two classes. Instead of reveling in my successes, I had doubts. Did the professor really read that paper? Was it just grammatically sound, so she gave me the A+? Did she just skim through it and because she was behind on grading, just give me the A+ because it looked OK?
When I lost 25 pounds in 2007, I was probably at my highest point. I was active and healthy. I was losing weight and feeling good about myself. But when I gained it all back in 2008 and failed miserably any attempts at weight loss in 2009, doubts came crawling back. And now the only thing I feel every day when I attempt this healthy lifestyle is doubt. Can I do this? Remember all those other times you failed? Yeah, you’re doing good now but just wait a month. You’ll fall back onto old habits.
It’s really hard to live a successful, capable life with doubts. It has held me back from so much in life. It’s become a part of who I am and I long to rid myself of this heartache.
But how does one attain belief in oneself? Tough question. If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have doubts. I don’t think there’s any miracle cure. I can’t swallow a pill, drink a shake, or read a book to achieve self-belief. It has to come from inside me.
Maybe it’s just taking all those doubts and keeping them in the forefront of my mind as I venture into unknown lands. Maybe I just need to prove to myself first and foremost that I can do anything I set my mind to. I can get this newspaper job, scary as it may seem, and do my best to be a success. I can keep eating healthy and exercising and not let setbacks hold me down for long. And stop looking at it as a way to lose weight, but a way to become healthy. And I can take every good grade I receive as recognition of my talent. And give myself some credit where credit is due.
What about you? How is your self-belief?