What if, for a moment, I actually believed in myself?
What if, instead of doubt and fear, I was able to place belief in myself in my heart?
I’ve spent my entire life what iffing. I’ve what iffed my way through school, through university, through a career in teaching, through countless runs. When life has asked me the question ‘what if?’ I’ve faltered. I’ve halted and stumbled, I’ve stopped and hidden away because of fear. Anxiety has had me by the throat more times than I care to remember. And at forty-eight years of age…I’ve had enough.
What if I wasn’t scared?
I’ve always believed in the possibility of human potential. We are boundless. Spend a few days in a school and you’ll see it. You’ll hear it. At times you’ll feel it as an actual presence in the room as new knowledge connects with old, as ideas form, and as stuff just clicks into place. We are limitless in a very real sense.
I’ve never been able to fully connect that belief with my own life.
It’s the old stories. Grow up in a world where you’ll do anything to fall under the radar and you’ll hide your potential, not bring it into the world. Grow up as too tall, too gawky, too odd, too bookish, too emotional, too sensitive and you quickly learn that all that too muchness is just not enough. I wasn’t enough. I was too much. Too difficult. Too intense. Too thoughtful. Too much.
What if you were more like the person we want you to be? I can still hear the voice of my father.
Less so my mother. But I remember her advice: you are just not cut out for it. The first time I heard her say this about my life, I really wanted to curl up and just go. Disappear. I knew that I was too much and not enough.
Some 30 odd years later those old stories can still haunt me if I let them.
But they are just stories. And the great thing about stories is that you can, with effort, put them down and walk away. You can write new lines.
I do believe in myself.