A New Month and Struggling with Self-Doubt

You ever wish there was a pill you could swallow and your whole life would magically morph into what you’ve always imagined it should be? Yea, me too. The thing about our imaginations, though, is that they are never as good as the best possible outcome, so creating the life we imagine is actually quite limiting.

2021 is flying by much faster than its predecessor. We’re almost halfway through the year, and yet, not much has changed for me. One thing that has changed, though, is I am in a much better mental state than I was in January. With that, comes the clarity of self-doubt.

For much of last year, and the beginning of this one, my mind was clouded in so much anxiety that I couldn’t see much else. Surviving day-to-day was the only thing I could do. I showed up here, and that kept me moving, but moving and moving forward are not the same. All of my writing is cloaked in self-doubt and fear. I’ve decided to stop making (or not making) decisions out of fear, but that is still more a practice than a one-time decision. What can I do in the next seven months to push myself forward? What do I want my life to look like?

I was on a call yesterday regarding a program that could alter the way my career looks… the way my life looks. After the call ended, I sat and thought through all the things I was afraid of about joining the program and emptying my savings to pay for it. One of the things that came to mind as I was talking to myself and God was that none of the things I am most proud of have come out of my jobs. The things I have been most proud of, the things that have made me feel the most accomplished, are the things that have come out of my creative work.

My work is covered in self-doubt, wrapped up in fear, and that’s a large part of why I haven’t finished self-publishing the book I’ve been working on the past couple of years. The manuscript is done. It needs cover art and interior formatting and ISBNs and to be published. It needs my confidence rather than my fear. I don’t hold the delusion that this one book is going to make me a famous author. What I do know is publishing this book successfully will give me the confidence to publish the next one and the next, and at some point I will have the shelf full of books with my name on them that I’ve always imagined.

I am stuck in some logistical things, so I can’t say it’s all doubt and fear holding me back, but the doubt and fear help to keep me from creating a solution for the logistical speed bumps. Getting over those humps means I have no excuse not to finish what I’ve started (and have been talking about for months). The truth is, I’ve been afraid to really invest in publishing this book. I’ve been treating it as a hobby rather than a starting point in creating the life I want, the first building block, if you will.

It’s kind of ironic that the book is about making my voice heard, and I’ve been so afraid of being loud in creating it. Being loud draws attention, and I’ve been hiding. Hiding from judgment, hiding from my responsibility to use my gifts, hiding from myself. Making decisions from a place of fear has held me back in significant ways, and I don’t want to do that anymore. I know I will have days where I feel inadequate and unsuitable, but I can’t accept those narratives as the basis for my decisions anymore. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy—I’ve been making fear-based decisions most of my life—what I am saying, though, is I’m starting to understand the risk is worth it. Putting myself out into the world is worth it. It has to be.

I was offered what seemed to be a pill that would make my life better. And it might have, but I think it would’ve done so in a way that is inauthentic to who I was created to be… to who I am becoming. The fact that I even recognize that is growth.

Thank you for hanging in here with me. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning, or you’ve just recently found my space, I appreciate you hearing me.

Happy… -ing!

How My Mom Inspires Me

I wanted to execute a special brunch for my mom for Mother’s Day, but she had to work Sunday. For the previous two years, my cousins and I had done a themed Mother’s Day Brunch for our moms together, but I wanted to do something specifically for my mom and I. Because she had to work, we ended up having Mexican food (her favorite) for dinner Friday night instead. I got her a card, bought her some of her favorite dark chocolate covered almonds and that was that.

Everybody loves my mom. Growing up, my friends always loved her, the guys I dated loved her, and she’s always been the favorite aunt. Her coworkers love her, her students love her, strangers love her… she’s a pretty awesome human being. She’s a powerhouse at her job. She’s smart, loving, caring, strong, good with her money… she’s a planner, she’s creative, she’s funny, and she often has no filter. My mom is my best friend.

As a person who has never had a lot of friends, I’ve come to depend on my mom for a lot of things, and she has become the person who understands me the most. Struggling with anxiety the past year, she has shown me what it looks and feels like when someone acknowledges a struggle I’m having, even when they don’t understand it, and makes adjustments for themselves so as not to make me feel worse. I haven’t fully opened up to her about all the things I’ve struggled with over the years, but she knows me better than anyone else and she makes me feel seen.

My mother has a special way of connecting with people. Whether it’s people she’s leading, people she’s teaching, or people she’s taking care of, my mom has this unique ability to make people feel understood. She calms chaotic situations with seemingly little effort, and is able to resolve conflict between people simply by being there. I’ve certainly seen her get upset, but I can’t remember ever hearing her yell at someone. She is the glue that keeps our extended family together… she’s the glue that keeps our nuclear family together… and sometimes she does it at the risk of her own wellbeing.

When my grandmother died several years ago, my mom internalized so much of the stress from funeral planning, packing up my grandparents’ house, and wrangling her feuding siblings that she developed Bell’s Palsy. That was a stressful situation in itself, especially not knowing when it would go away, but she did eventually recover. She was also reminded that she needs to take care of herself in order to keep doing the things she wants to do for everyone else, and I’ve seen her implement practices to keep her stress low and take care of herself ever since.

And I don’t want to applaud her strength without making room for her vulnerability. The thing about a lot of moms is that they feel the need to be strong even when they don’t feel like it. The kids can fall apart, the man can fall apart, but she has to keep herself and everyone else together. I think there are plenty of moms who don’t feel like there is space for them to be vulnerable and take time to heal. I don’t just admire my mother’s strength, I admire her ability to walk away when things are no longer good for her, say “no” to things she doesn’t want to be part of, and refuse people who try to overstep her boundaries.

My mom is my safe space, and I lover her for that. Even more, I admire my mom for the woman she is outside of her husband and children, and I am constantly inspired by her.