Curb the Self Doubt

Dear Lord, when feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and self-doubt creep into my heart, help me to see myself the way you do.

I’m not particularly religious, but I thought this was still an appropriate quote. (Click the picture to see the site it came from)

I was inspired by “Incurably Curious'” blog today … see http://incurablycurious.com/2014/02/17/youre-not-as-bad-as-you-think-you-are/

I feel this self-doubt oozing from every part of my body, slowly poisoning my confidence and self-worth.  I have a messed up relationship that I can’t make up my mind about, school isn’t going well (again), I don’t get particular enjoyment or earnings from either of my jobs, all my groups of friends have seemed to drift away leaving me with one or two here and there but no group where I really feel at home, a series of poor decisions, no car, poor financial management… I could go on a long time.  It seems this is quite normal and the writer asked that people respond with what they do to curb the self doubt.  Naturally, I was quite interested to see how people responded to this.

It turns out, almost everyone seemed to just focus on the positive until things got better.  Focus on what is going well; what is going RIGHT in their lives. So here goes:

  • I have my own place
  • I have a good roommate
  • I have my own adorable cat, Prince
  • I have a great family that I am fairly close to
  • I am in school and will graduate with an HBA
  • I am relatively attractive
  • I am relatively healthy
  • I am working and paying my own way
  • I have good people in my life
  • I have started writing

It’s peculiar… while writing that list I felt the need to add something negative to every single positive statement I made.  For example, I wanted to write “I will probably fail something and not finish for a couple years because I am not focused, want to travel and need to work during school” to the line crediting myself for being in school.  And that’s just it.  I need to keep it simple, ignore those negatives (or acknowledge them and let them pass as an invalid thought/feeling) and focus on the positives.  Things will work out, if I keep telling myself that they will and focus on the positives.  Yet, that is so much easier said than done.  One of these days I’m gonna hit a ball (of negativity) right outta the park and hit a home run (happiness).

Positive. Positive. Positive. Positive. Positiveeeee.

Have a good day everyone!

Namaste… xx Kate

Really Living… Bitter and Sweet.

 

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It’s always interesting to look back.  I run into people from high school and realize life is passing me by.  People I went to school with are married, have children, are traveling the world, are done their degrees, they’re teachers, they’re executives, they’re broadway stars.  They are living their dreams.  They are making a life for themselves.  I am proud of them.  I have respect for them.  And, I must say, in the least evil way possible, I am jealous of them.  They are really living.  I thought I’d be off doing something amazing and I know how fully capable I am.  But something has held me back.  I’m not playing the victim here.  There’s nothing wrong with my life, it just doesn’t make me happy.  I can also recognize that I am fully responsible for that, although I’m not going to beat myself up about it. 

But I do wonder… What happened?

Did I lose confidence?  Lose direction?  Am I afraid?  Is it all of those things?  Is it none of those things?  And I don’t know. 

What I do know:

I have no motivation or joy for my degree program, except that I know it will look good on a resume and, hopefully, better my career in the long run.  I have an uncontrollable hunger for travel, despite my lack of legitimate funds (I could go on my student loans easily though).  And I wonder… as irresponsible, reckless and unsophisticated as it would be… should I do it?

Should I buy a nice camera?  Finish my semester (with still two years left of my degree program)?  Save anything I can for the next 2.5 months?  Sublet my place (or not, since my roommate would probably murder me – exaggeration, but you know what I mean)?  And just… go?  Take pictures, write about my experiences, get the tattoo I’ve wanted for years.  It doesn’t seem smart, responsible, logical or wise.  But the more I think about it, the more I feel…  That’s what I want. 

What’s stopping me?  Money?  School?  My apartment?

The thing is, I know I can overcome the money issue by using my loan.  Sure, it’s irresponsible… but isn’t travel a form of education in itself?  Meeting new people.  Learning about the world.  Learning about different cultures.  Seeing things.  Filling my heart.  Getting to know myself better.  In other words, I can overcome the money obstacle if I really want to.  If it’s worth it.  In terms of school, I can put it on hold until I get back, so that can be overcome too.  In terms of my apartment, I can sublet or work something out with my roommate or eat the cost if it comes to that.  So that can be overcome as well.  

So if all my apparently huge obstacles aren’t holding me back, what is?

And I think I might know… guilt and fear.

What if I rack up a ton of debt?  How will I pay it back?  When will I pay it back?  What will my family think?  What if I don’t learn anything when I’m away?  What if I have nothing to show for my travels?  What if I’m just trying to escape?  What if I learn something about myself that I don’t want to know?  What if I want to drop out of school when I get back?  Or change my program?  What will people think of me if I’m still doing my undergrad when I’m almost 30? 

But if I look at all of that guilt and fear, I see only one thing: a girl who is afraid to be who she is.  So what if I’m not taking the recommended path?  So what if I’m not making the smartest decision?  So what if my family gets angry with me?  I know my family well enough to know that they will forgive me and love me no matter what.  

What’s the worst that can happen?

Worst case scenario: I come back to a family who is annoyed with me, afraid for my future and afraid of my debt.  I come back with a lot of money to repay to my student loan, not wanting to do school, with no more direction than I have now… with a wealth of experiences under my belt.  And I realize…  That really doesn’t sound so bad.  I’ve been in that place before without the wealth of experiences and with numerous additional problems… I recovered from it once.  I can do it again.

After considering all this I realize, I need to let go of my guilt and my fear.  I need to embrace my life with open arms.  There is nothing wrong with following your dreams, however reckless or irresponsible it may be.  I have to go because I can no longer ignore the world calling “Kate, come meet me”.

Thanks for listening to my written out word vomit. 

xx Kate

Where is that little girl?

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I used to be that girl who stood out in the crowd; intelligent, artistic, creative, reasonable, logical, ambitious, hardworking, caring, loving, and beautiful, with a set of high moral standards, wonderful friends, self-respect and pride… despite some (possibly unreasonable but definitely inevitable) insecurities.  Then there was this wonderful, wild, whirlwind journey of adolescence.  I became more corrupted and sinful by the second.  Alcohol, drugs, parties, sex, “popularity” (whatever that even means)… they all seemed so innocent.  I was just having fun, just a teenager in my experimental phase, everyone was bound to do it or go through it at some point before adulthood (or so I thought).  

 

I was good at it for awhile; living a double life.  I kept my grades up, stayed near the top of the class, I stayed involved with all my extra-curriculars: multiple sports teams, choir, dance, etc.  I had respect and admiration from my peers, teachers and family.  Now I’m here.  For a long time I had trouble bridging the gap.  But somewhere along the way, I started losing grip.  A very, very long time ago.  I realized I was lost and somehow, I dug deeper.  And deeper.  And deeper.

 

I was blind.  I had no idea how much I was changing, how far I was straying away from myself or, if I did, I was so far in denial that I wouldn’t admit it to myself.  I tried to be the best of both worlds.  The best student and the hardest partier.  The most desired by men and the best friend of every girl.  A person for my peers to talk to, a good friend to everyone, a role model, the most respected, the most accomplished.  I wanted to work lots of hours so I could have the most money to get ahead, to a better life someday and I wanted to be the most generous, so I shared my money (or the things I bought with my money) with all my friends.  The list of contradictory wishes goes on and on.  Somehow, I had all these great dreams and good intentions, yet they presented themselves so poorly.  My goals entirely undermined each other.  I just couldn’t see it. 

 

Early on, without realizing it consciously, I couldn’t handle everything; I couldn’t keep all my ducks in a row with the exceedingly high goals and standards I put out for myself.  So I denied it to myself and put on a good face for everyone(really it was for me).  I took caffeine pills to finish my schoolwork, I lost copious amounts of sleep and made several other poor decisions for my health (physical and mental/emotional).  Once and awhile, someone close to me would protest, but I refused to listen.  I lost a couple of my greatest girlfriends from my stubbornness.  I thought they were just jealous, or they were holding me back because they wanted me to stay close to them and not grow or meet new people or have new experiences (whatever I could come up with).  I thought they were holding me back for their sake or with irrational fears that were ludicrous.  I couldn’t see their wisdom.  I wouldn’t.  My mother tried numerous times to make me see that I had fallen away from myself; off my path.  I don’t know how many times she told me I needed to choose between being “the party girl” and being …(whatever else she called it… a responsible, beautiful human being that I had the potential to be?) “the good girl” (… we’ll call it?).  Every time, my response was… “I can do both”.  Oh how wrong I was. 

 

I have to give myself some credit where credit is due.  I kept up a really good face, for a really, really, admirably long time.  YEARS (almost 10 to be precise).  I had my heart crushed numerous times, each time trying to pretend that I wasn’t hurt.  I tried to give people advice so they could be their happiest; trying to get people to open up to each other when I knew they liked each other, even when I liked one of them.  I completely denied my emotions any validity or importance or respect.  It would always backfire though.  I would get stressed, lonely, overtired, overworked, or sad and I would blow off steam in the worst ways possible.  Generally by getting highly intoxicated to the point where I blacked out.  Which was a fantastic solution (sarcasm, in case you didn’t already notice).  I probably lost more friends over things I did that I don’t remember than things I do.  The number of phone calls that consisted of me sobbing to my girlfriends as they informed me of what I had done the night before is actually a little bit humourous (in hindsight, now that I’m coming to terms with it all).  And then something switched. 

 

I decided that if I kept acting this way, then maybe that was who I was: that maybe I should embrace it.  I made it one big joke.  I treated it like a game at times; a game I had mastered.  I continued to stumble through life.  I stood tall and strong, I smiled and put on a good face.  I was still successful at many things, in the eyes of many people (although I knew I wasn’t living up to my full potential in many ways).  I had trouble focusing at times, I had break downs, or panic attacks or I would lie awake for hours crying.  But no one really saw that. 

 

A friend might see me cry once or twice but generally it was always someone different each time.  This meant that I kept up a good face.  No one really knew I was unhappy.  In fact, I hardly did.  I thought I was just stressed or lonely or it was an isolated incident or it was just because of “this” that happened today or “that” that happened yesterday.  I mean how could I be sad when I have so many good things in my life?  When I had so many wonderful, beautiful (internally… and externally as well) people in my life (even if they walked in and out)? When I had so much going for me?  When I was talented at so many things?

 

But my mother… she saw right through me.  Just how mothers do.  I can only hope that I will know my own daughter so well someday.  She knew something was up, but she couldn’t reach me.  I wouldn’t let her in.  I wasn’t ready to face myself.  Not yet.  So I dug myself deeper.  And deeper.  And deeper.

 

I let my parents watch me in pain and I fell further and further away from myself.  I can only imagine what my future children have in store for me.  Gosh, that’s a scary thought.  But for everything I put them through, no matter how rude or disobedient I was, they never stopped loving me.  They tried to support me as best as they could.  They gave up so much time and energy trying to drive me here and there or fight with me about poor decisions I made.  They tried to get me to see the light and I refused to open the blinds, time after time.  You’d think they were glued shut or something.

 

I went off to university; racked up a ton of debt, barely made it through my first year, found love, couldn’t hold a job, dropped out.  It was like a spiral and I was getting closer and closer to the middle; the poor choices and negative relationship patterns (with work, friends, and boys) became more and more frequent.  I thought I reached rock bottom multiple times.  I leaned on my friends and family like my state had no affect on them whatsoever.  I lost more people close to me along the way because they couldn’t take it and I watched others around me wear thin.  I got to the point where I’d lost almost everything.

 

My family didn’t know how to deal with me anymore so we’d grown miles apart.  I’d lost touch with most of my friends.  I had no phone.  I lived alone.  I was single again.  I couldn’t afford to look after my cat so someone close to me took her in.  I had no money.  I could hardly afford food.  I had enough food to live on, but not enough for a healthy diet.  I had to man up, smarten up and grow up and I knew it. 

 

So I landed a job, just in time.  It was a Godsend.  I decided that I had to make it work.  So I did.  Things started improve slowly.  I excelled in my job.  I had money.  I got another pet.  I paid off my debt.  I mended my relationship with my family.  I moved home.  I mended a couple of my friendships with those that were generous enough to let me back in.  I made new friends.  I got healthier.  I went back to school.  I continued to work.  I moved back out.

 

Then the pressure started coming back and so did my bad habits.  Procrastination.  Unresolved issues from years before.  Actions and feelings of my own that I don’t understand or want to deal with.  The destructive habits never really went away.  There was just a period there where they weren’t really interfering.  But now they are.

 

It’s puzzling really… I have all these opportunities and resources for change, every second, every hour… yet I remain. I have a great skill set, good genes, a good life with wonderful, supportive people in it… yet I remain.  I cling and hold on to my bad habits like they are my lifeline, despite my confidence that these habits don’t serve me well… I know it whole-heartedly.  I know I can do without them because I used to thrive in their absence… yet I remain.  I procrastinate.  I put off schoolwork.  I avoid the people that will protest my behavior (classmates and teachers mainly) or tell friends and family half-truths so they see that I am doing just fine.

 

When I realized that, I realized I need to stop.  I need to stop beating myself up.  I need to stop being so ashamed of my past.  I need to stop being so embarrassed by myself.  I need to stop holding on to my pain.  I need to let it go.  My denial of self, my pain, my guilt, my suffering; no one is benefitting from it.  I need to let go of it all.  

 

I need to respect myself again.  I need to love myself.  I need to realize that I always had good intentions, despite the terrible outcomes of many of them.  I need to let myself be happy, be loved and be me.  Somewhere along the way I lost my pride and self-respect without even realizing it.  My optimism seemed to chip away with it.  But I deserve to have those things despite the mistakes I’ve made and the people I’ve hurt.  I can be all of those things I once was; intelligent, artistic, creative, reasonable, logical, ambitious, hardworking, caring, loving, and beautiful, with a set of high moral standards, wonderful friends, self-respect and pride.  Except this time I can be more confident, experienced, compassionate, curious, open and wise because of everything I have endured.  I think I’ve found that little girl I once was.  I need to love her and nourish her.  She will show me direction, what will bring me happiness and who I am supposed to be.  She will show me… well… me.