I’ve been really noticing lately that I have some major confidence issues going on.
Whenever someone compliments me, I feel a bit of a fraud. Or I question their judgement. Or both.
Sometimes, the person doing the complimenting is someone I really admire, whose opinion I really value. Then I literally just don’t know where to look. A while back, a lady I consider to be very intelligent and successful, who is something of a mentor to me, told me that she liked my blog; it made her question how honest she was. I think that’s probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever had in my life, about anything. And because of who she is, because she is clearly successful and knowledgeable and intelligent, I couldn’t just laugh it off as “well, she clearly has no idea about these things” like I usually do.
I think some of my friends probably get a little exacerbated with me at times; no matter how often they tell me they like my outfit, I don’t look fat, I am not a bad person, I am quite intelligent actually, they like my blog, they like my writing, I don’t look fat, my bum doesn’t look big in this… I still don’t really believe any of them. I don’t see any of that when I look at myself. When I read my writing, I see the poor sentence structure; I see where this paragraph has been put together badly, where I should have included this part up here, and left this part out all together, and why on earth did I feel the need to mention that? When I look in the mirror I see roots and seven chins and a big nose and a giant belly.
Just recently, a few opportunities have come my way.
I’ve been saying for ages that I want to be able to earn a living from my writing. I would love to be paid to write; I enjoy it and get a great sense of achievement from it. I know I can do it reasonably easily; it’s the only thing I’ve ever known I definitely wanted to do.
So these opportunities have been mentioned, and at first I’ve said “oh yes, that sounds fantastic, I can’t wait, this is going to be great! I am definitely the person you don’t even know you’re looking for!”
And then there’s the part where you actually have to put your hand up and apply and say for definite “yes, I think I’m good enough for this, I think I should be the person you pick for this. I think I can do this for you.” And I panic.
It’s taken me twelve hours to open an email I knew was about writing, and so far another 2 hours to even begin to reply to it.
Weirdly, when it came to hassling the editor of my local paper to have me write for them, none of this bothered me. I was so convinced I was better than any of their other regular contributors, I knew they would be mad to turn me down. However, I have a blog on their website which doesn’t get many readers and I’m not paid for it. There’s no pressure to deliver a piece on a weekly or even monthly basis; in fact I think out of all their bloggers, I’m the only one updating even vaguely regularly. I think they should give me a column in the paper and start paying me, because I still think I’m better than the other people they have; I’ll tell people this all day long, but only the people whose opinions don’t really count. I can’t bring myself to call the editor of the paper and tell him; and his is the only opinion that really matters in that one.
Writing has always been a dream for me; I’ve always pictured myself sitting at a desk, writing some great masterpiece on my laptop all day long. It’s always been this grand idea that I would write books, despite the fact I despise writing fiction. But it’s only ever been a dream.
This blog, and the one for the local paper, don’t really count. They’re both on my terms; I can post or not post depending on my mood; I can write about whatever takes my fancy; if you don’t like it, you can knob off. It scares the absolute crap out of me to go to a “proper” publisher/editor of any description and say “yes, I can do that. I am the person you are looking for” because what if I can’t? What if, when it comes down to it, I’m actually not so great, and I can’t consistently delivery quality pieces on a regular basis?
Similarly, I know look okay-ish in my jeans and jumper, but if I wear anything out of the ordinary, I hate it. I notice all the lumps and bumps and judge my reflection relentlessly. I could put this down to my having put on a little weight lately, but realistically I know it has always been there, even when I was relatively fit. In fact, when I think about it, I can think of only one time in my entire life when I knew I looked good; that was in the middle of my breakdown, when I hadn’t eaten for three days and wore a black dress to a funeral. I’ve not worn that dress again since, and had never worn it before; but for one day, I looked damn good in it. I was also so off my head on Valium, I didn’t have the wherewithal to worry or even notice whether there were lumps or bumps.
This has turned into a long and rambling post, the main point of which is: since I can’t spend the rest of my life off my head on Valium, and I really do want to live my dream of becoming a writer, I probably need to get my shit together and work on my confidence.
Now I just need to figure out how to do that… Suggestions? Anyone?