I’ve had self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember.
When I was very little, I had no worries. I was a total tomboy, who didn’t care what other people thought of me. I was happier dressed in clothes I could climb trees & get muddy in. And often did just those very things. I climbed up & down a cliff behind our house on a daily basis, snagging my hair on tree branches, and chewed my nails down to the quick, making my mom lament of me ever being a “girly girl”.
She has often told stories about how she would wait until we were literally on our way out the door for church to get me in my dress, or I’d get something on it.
But, little girls grow up, and as they do, they eventually start to care about how others see them.
I was no different.
By the time I hit 6th grade, I cared about how I was perceived by my peers, as well as by adults.
Alas, also by this time, we’d moved from Iowa, where I had friends, to a small town in North Dakota, where… not only did I know no one, but I was a complete outsider.
I was, and still am, a nerd. I read a lot, was good at school, & got good grades. I wasn’t a troublemaker. I’m not good at sports (my nickname in volleyball was “jello-wrists”, no joke) except for horseback riding, and our small town lived for its sports. I wasn’t considered pretty enough to garner the “pretty new girl” attention, & I didn’t have the “right” last name.
All of these things pretty much signed my social death warrant there.
In high school, at 5’7″, 125-130lbs, I was considered the “fat girl”.
I smiled here because I knew it was almost over.
My saving grace through high school, was that my best friend had faith in me. She was a total extrovert, who moved to our town when we were in the 8th grade. She was good at sports, & was/is gorgeous & skinny. And she believed in my writing.
She sort of adopted me, & pulled me out of my shell, got me to leave our small town, & we went on adventures to other towns where we fit in much better, & made our own fun.
Even with that, I still stood in the shadows. I was always – “Oh, you’re S’s friend, right?”
*sigh* yes, I’m her friend.
I did make some friends of my own, separate from her, we did each gave our own groups that we’d hang out with, occasionally. And I did have boyfriends from those other towns that had no connection to her.
But I never felt as though I was enough.
Every relationship I’ve had has ended with me feeling as though I wasn’t enough for the other person. I always felt as though I was lacking, somehow, because of how things ended. Every. Single. One.
I’ve never really, truly, felt good enough.
And that includes my writing.
I’ve had certain friends tell me for years that I should write a book. That my words are worth more, that they have value.
I’ve always kind of just pooh-poohed the notion, telling them that I write my blog for me, to get the words out of my head.
After all, friends & family are supposed to say nice things to you, right? They’re supposed to back you up no matter what, right? Even if it’s trash?
Nephew… You live too far away to smack me on the back of the head right now, so sit back down.
I love you.
And I’m not done talking yet.
Because right now, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff.
I’m terrified – and exhilarated – and about ready to puke – all at the same time.
Because… I’m taking a leap of faith, & I’m going to try to build a pair of wings on my way down.
A little over a week ago, someone that I’ve admired & respected from a distance for a long time, but who has had zero idea that I existed, contacted me.
We started talking, & in the course of becoming friends, I introduced this person to my blog. They liked my writing, & started telling me that I should write a book.
I told them to talk to my Nephew, because it sounded like an echo.
My self-esteem still needs work – I know this.
I still look for acceptance & approval from others on my work, whether it’s my writing, my crafts, my remodeling I’m doing on my house. I’m never sure that what I’m doing is good enough, and I flounder in indecision about the choices I make unless I get feedback from people I trust.
I don’t know if it’s just a Gemini thing, or just a Jen thing…
Even today, when I spoke to one of my coworkers about the possibility of me writing a book, she called me crazy. And I immediately started to doubt myself.
It’s easier to believe the bad stuff.
The woman in the mirror every morning looks at me with bleary, disbelieving eyes.
The woman in the mirror at night usually tells me it’ll be better tomorrow.
I’m hoping there’s a bad ass bitch hanging around somewhere in the background who’ll kick both their asses, smash the mirror, & yank me up by my collar one of these days.
Till then… I’ll be shoveling sand.