A funny thing has been happening to me lately, but I don’t really know how to talk about it. I’m going to try, but fair warning, it probably won’t come across as being very coherent in this blog entry. Which seems to fit exactly the point of writing this, but…
All my life, I’ve pushed myself to get (or become) what I’ve wanted. It didn’t come naturally: my mom loves me but she’s also very hard on me, and more in the harsh way than the super tough love way. From the time I was in middle school, she pushed me to be more than I could be, to find my best self. It’s exhausting, and it caused me a lot of pain through the years, but it worked — she’s the reason why I went to a great college, cared so much about grades in school, and applied to graduate school when I was already considered “old.”
All my life, I’ve put myself first in instances where I could have yielded just so I didn’t hurt people’s feelings. (This sounds bad — what I mean is, I’ve put myself first when holding myself back to make someone else in my life happy would have been a detriment to me personally). I’ve gunned towards what I want and grabbed it (eventually.) I worked – I still work – hard. I hope my passion for what I do is apparent enough so that people look at me and believe that I’ve earned my place in the world, despite what the Internet tells me about my looks and talent.
Some of it is on me. I think too much and I worry too much. I haven’t had this job for a year yet, but already, I’m frustrated because I feel like it’s hard for me to get promoted, move up, and make a difference. I realize how silly that sounds, so I’m trying to make a difference by being the best that I can be in the moment – making myself the most capable person for my job, being the most confident person I can be, in order to show everyone that I belong here.
You can see where the problem comes in.
I still want to be the best I can be. But my confidence – my ability to stand all, talk confidently, feel like I’m on top of the world even when I’m not – has sort of disappeared. Sometimes it’s there, but mostly it’s not. And I don’t know how to get it back. I don’t know how to feel that confidence again. To stand tall and talk without stuttering, stammering, losing my words for no reason. I feel like when I’m sitting at my desk, I’m shrinking into my seat, just there, not…doing anything. Or being anything. I focus on the things I’m not doing that I don’t have a chance to do because of other people’s responsibilities and feel stunted. I don’t know what to do about it, or how to stop it. In the smallest sense, I’m trying to start a weekly streaming chat with a good friend about our favorite web show – and I’m hoping that forcing myself in front of the camera will make me more comfortable speaking in public, something that I’m not necessarily BAD at but something that I don’t feel like I’m doing well. I started playing in a work D&D group, which I hope will make me feel more outgoing and more comfortable speaking up and speaking out, even if it’s in a silly voice.
In a bigger sense, I’m trying to make each day positive as much as I can. There’s a lot I can’t change in terms of what I do every day and the amount of responsibility I have/don’t have, but I can try to shift my brain and thinking so that I’m taking control of what I do and making myself important and worthy. It’s hard, though. I’m a person who always feels like she needs to and should be doing more, being more, and being better. The fact that I’m not at the top of the pile, at my age, frustrates me and makes me feel more than a little small. And I’m very aware that personal issues play into this — I am constantly struggling with how to, in the words of Eliza Hamilton, “be enough.” I am trying to forget about the things that push me back and focus on presenting myself as independent and important.
If I’m not my best advocate, who will be?
If I’m not my own voice, whose voice will speak up for me?