There are a few moments in my life where I remember feeling confident: in my last job with Nike, leading the marketing team in the region’s largest market handling hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of budget; signing our marriage certificate in 2007 because it felt right; going home with my second child, because I actually know what to expect now.
For the most part though, I lack confidence. I doubt myself as a parent every day, and as a writer often.
Fear lies behind my lack of confidence. I am afraid of failing my children. I worry that these people I’ve chosen to birth, whose lives depend on me in many ways, will not turn out the way I hope. I’m scared I will screw them up because I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m winging it minute by minute. I question my decisions all. the. time. (Structured activities or free play? Organic food or just let them eat whatever because at least they’re eating? Is 2 too young to attend 4 hours of school a day? Am I teaching them the right life values?)
Recently, a friend told me to change my bio in my blog – to paraphrase, she said that I should stop saying that I’m “pretending to be a writer”, because that’s bullshit. I need to own the title of ‘writer’, because I am a writer. I write words, I tell stories, I craft sentences to express myself. People pay me to write. I am a writer. I’ve been writing for a long time. My journey as one has been fraught with doubt and fear.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
I cried a little when I realized how short I’ve been selling myself. I’ve denied myself opportunities by telling myself that I’m not good enough. I cried more, when I realized that there are people who believe in me, who have always believed in me.
Putting that fear behind me, walking in confidence, I’ve begun to put myself out there more. I’m applying for writing jobs, and submitting my pieces to sites and book anthologies. I’m telling myself that I am good enough. Sure, there are rejections galore, but if I allow failure to define me, I will never, ever try again. My light within will surely die.
As for parenting – it’s still a day-to-day process, but isn’t that what being a mother is? We cannot ever know how our children turn out, until they do. All I can do now is to love and teach them to the best of my ability, and hope to God that I get better at this by the hour.
“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Ghandi