Getting 'Over It'

street images-0660 'Comparison is the thief of joy.'

I repeat this to myself at least 20 times a day, because I am indeed one of the sad neurotics who constantly holds themselves up to impossible standards of perfection.

I'm getting a lot better at not doing this, but I am rather accustomed to suffering from incredible waves of a lack of self-confidence. No, it is not modesty, don't let that bashful English Reserve fool you; it's downright low-self esteem.

This is a pretty crappy issue to deal with, much more crappy when you're in a position where you like to create and work in an industry not renowned for rewarding martyr-like wall flowers. Creativity + Fear of Expression = Nothing. As far as formulae go, this is not one to live by, yet myself and other kindred spirits make it a way of life.

Thanks to years of having modesty drummed into me (hey, societal impositions of character based on gender and race!!!) along with an awkward mish-mash of teenage experiences, I became accustomed to batting away praise, starting projects and never finishing out of fear and avoiding people and relationships (all kinds).

Being the only child of both my parents and the first grandchild on both sides, to say I suffer from severe only-childness is a sheer understatement. To make it worse, I made the ill-thought out error of being a goody two shoes high achiever from a young age, despite all my ticked boxes (single parent home, born on council estate, immigrant background, absent father - I could go on) which has created a taught thread of expectation from my extended family to me.

But a wonderful thing is happening. As I use my twenties (the final frontier of Girl You Better Suck It Up and Fix Yourself Land) to work this through, I'm lamenting all the years lost to a crippling fear of self-judgment and unfulfilled expectations. The bouts of fear are shorter, my self-berating quieter and walking with my head high doesn't feel so unfamiliar. I wear my hair extra fluffy, my clothes to my style and my gin and tonic to my taste. I draw inspiration from inspirational women, from my fabulous mother, to brave creators on the Internet to characters in novels.

As of this month, halfway through 2015 and some months before I hit a quarter of a century (gasp),  I vow to continue to tread this path, even if I stumble, as every trip tears away at the thin gauze of protection I've suffocated myself in for so long. Will I make a tit out of myself? Probably. But I'll definitely learn a thing or two, no?

Isn't that what life is about?

No comments:

Post a Comment