The Web of Self-Doubt

Raw. Fettered. Burgeoning.

I’m trying to find the right words for what I am lately, but I’m coming up empty.

Yesterday, I cried while listening to Charlotte’s Web during the afternoon kid shuttle. The day before that I cried while listening to Charlott’es Web too. And the day before…

We take many short trips. A single movie can last us an entire week. This week the movie has moved in me.

Perhaps I’m just sensitive, but certain things have just gotten to me. The latest?

Wilbur tells Charlotte the Spider, “I don’t know if the things you write about me are really true!” Things like terrific and humble and some pig.

I think I heard my soul cry those words along with Wilbur.

“God, I’m not sure I can believe the things you have said about me!”

Good things – how God chose me or wanted me or loved me. How God still does.

Why is it so hard to believe the good things people tell us about ourselves? Why do we look down and shrug or give a non-committal ‘thank you’.

Or is it just me or the mentally ill or the overly stressed moms who wonder? Did something go wrong to make me this way or, God forbid, do I make myself this way?

I don’t know the answers to those questions or how to overcome any of it – the downtrodden selfie viewpoint, the self-doubt…

I think maybe, just maybe, listening when my heart squeezes to the sound of Charlotte’s Web might be a beginning. Perhaps the first step in healing anything is simply acknowledging there is pain.

Candidly,

Ash

 

Living in a Lonely World

I’ve talked about it here or there. I grew up going to a private school housed in the church that we attended every Sunday. I spent 6 days of the week in the same building and sometimes seven days during sports season. I didn’t think much of it. Everybody knew me and I knew everybody. When my mom was late to pick us up, it wasn’t really that troublesome. We could find a ride home or hang out in the building with whichever teacher was staying late.

It was a small world.

I’m not sure that is or was a bad thing really. There is something to be said for security and safety. As an adult, my husband and I have moved 8 times in 12 years. I would love to just STAY somewhere. One house, one yard. Instead, I spend 4 months procrastinating on hanging our pictures. Then, I hang them and we move 6-8 months later (12 months if I am lucky). Sometimes I wonder how much of a point there is in making a home when we move so often. Even my kids are reluctant to move again. I think if I told them we were staying in our less-than-ideal rental for the next five years – they would cheer!

But how much safety and security is too much or too long? I wonder.

The problem with my small world upbringing was that I didn’t know who I was outside of my small circle. When I left home, I floundered and, truthfully, I still flounder. I’m an expert flounder-er. But isn’t that somewhat natural? I mean, the term “coming-of-age story” exists for a reason, right?

Did growing up in a bubble really affect me as much as it feels like it affected me? I mean, we are all pretty subjective in the stories we tell ourselves. An outsider would hardly describe my life the way I would. I think that’s probably why biography and auto-biography are two very different things.

What if I told myself a different story? What would somebody write on my Wikipedia page?

“Small-town girl livin’ in a lonely world”?

Literally, those are the exact words that came to my mind. Oh lord, the soundtrack to my life features “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. How poetic.

Actually, I think I’m okay with that story, that soundtrack. Really, we are all lonely at times or even most of the time. We are all searching – searchers. And maybe that is the best part of all…

We are not the only ones searching.

So don’t stop believing. (Yeah, I went there.)

 

You Can Do Anything…

…You put your mind to. Heard that phrase?

Me too.

My dad said it to me all the time when I was growing up. He was awesomely encouraging and loved hearing all of my thoughts. If I had an idea, then he’d extrapolate it with me and we’d devise ways to change the world.

{kindred spirits}

As a grown woman and mom, I don’t actually use that phrase, because I disagree wholeheartedly. I’ve learned that I can think of many things, anything and put my mind to them. But doing them? That is a whole different matter.

There are some things I can’t do. In fact, there are many things I can’t do – even if I put my mind to them.

Exhibit A. I cannot run a 3 minute mile. No matter how hard I try or how much I believe it, my short little stubby legs will not move that fast. I could train for weeks and months and years and even decades. Not. Going. To. Happen. I am descended from stout, bohemian women who were known for their kolaches and birthing hips – not their running.

Exhibit B. Three years ago, I was a music teacher, PTO president and school board secretary. I had a nervous breakdown. Full blown, mental hospital and 9 week therapy program. There are some things I just can’t do…

As a mom, I never want to give my kids the impression that they are capable of anything or everything or all things. I want them to know that they should chose things and do things they believe in, whether they achieve them or not. I want them to know that they have limitations.

Limitations ARE OKAY! There IS such a thing as “I can’t” and “I won’t”. I want their “no” to be as powerful as their yes. I want them to have well-formed boundaries.

With all of that being said, I still want them to be risk-takers, to challenge themselves. I want them to be proud when they try, gracious when the succeed and curious when they fail. I want them to know that failure is a compass to true north. All great destinations have bumpy roads.

When they ask me if they can do it, if they can make it or if they will succeed…I will simply ask, “Do you think you can?” And we’ll go from there, because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I believe about them. It only matters what they believe about themselves.