I haven’t written here in months and there are far too many reasons why. Each one is worth its own blog post. It can be summed up by saying I’ve been fighting self doubt.
It began when I woke up one day and asked myself, “Who are you to say anything?” To put it lightly, I successfully trolled myself. I don’t know where that thought came from, but it was in a voice I know all to well. It’s one I’ve dealt with most of my life. It’s the voice of self-doubt. I’m my own worst critic and I know exactly what will hurt me the most.
At first it didn’t matter. I told the voice to mind its own business and it shut up. The damage it wanted to do was done, though, so it didn’t need to say anything else. The little black tendrils worked their way into every thought, then grew and squeezed out every last bit of self-confidence I had. (Too melodramatic?) The question worked on my psyche like water in a crack in winter, freezing and melting until it made a much larger crack.
What can I say? Confidence isn’t my strong suit. If it ever seemed that way then you’ve only met my facade. I wear it out in public. I based it off the swashbucklers from the black and white movies. I’m actually rather proud of it. Hope you liked it.
On the inside, I’m pretty much the opposite. I’m shy and I hate conflict. So how did I combat, “Who are you to say anything?” I didn’t. I caved immediately. I mean, within a few hours I was unable to put a word on the page for anything other than work.
I fell back into my old way of hiding and focusing on other things; mostly sulking and fretting over why I couldn’t do anything I wanted to. Thankfully while I was there in my internal self I found something deeper than the scared bit that gives in to the self doubt. What I found hates losing, loves a good fight and lives for a comeback.
It was finally tired of losing out to the scared, shy me. It needed training as it was wildly out of shape. I needed to get a little self confidence first, so I picked one thing that I thought would matter the most: education. I’m great at learning, but terrible at school. Deadlines, homework, having to listen to everything I read the night before … all of it. But, I had taken a class over the summer in which I got a C. Big deal, right? At least I passed. I had had an A, though, right up until the final. The teacher called my final “boring.” Not wrong, boring. That ate me up and gave plenty of strength to fight the self doubt.
I tried again not only taking a class I failed (math), but a class most would think would be hard (astronomy, which combined math, my worst subject, and physics, which I’ve never had). Not only did I get a B in math, but I got an A in astronomy. That was enough to get me going again, and I was able to best those grades in my next two classes.
With that success, I picked the next thing I had let fall by the wayside, fitness. I put as much effort into my physical health as I did my mental. Six months later, I excelled at that too … much to my own surprise. I lost five inches, 20 pounds and dropped 20 points on my blood pressure. At nearly 36 I’m in better shape than I was at 24.
Did those things together get me writing again? No, but they helped. The last couple weeks random people asked me if I had a blog. I said yes in spite of feeling like it was some weird confession. I was actually embarrassed. But, they would say, “Cool. I wish I could, but I don’t know if anyone would care what I have to say.” Galactic irony. If it’d been just one person saying that I would have chalked it up to coincidence.
Still, all that and a therapist weren’t enough. I started writing this two days ago. Well, to be honest, I had decided to write two days ago, then stared at a blank screen for two days. Late last night I wrote something, but I deleted every word. I think that was enough, though. This seemed to flow pretty well. Is it my best, no. Flattering? Not really. At least I said something.
And I very nearly deleted everything I just wrote.