If you saw me on the street or you knew me from a distance you would think I was a happy, confident lady who took everything in her stride. I love to make people laugh and truly believe that a smile is contagious.
But if you scratch my surface you’ll find that I am a complex, emotional being who has spent the past twenty years trying to understand who I am and where I fit into the world. I have been at times lost, crippled with self-doubt and a lack of belief in my own abilities that I have actively sabotaged my success because deep down I knew eventually I would be heading that way anyway so best I put myself out of misery.
Although I have been investigating my own self-concept for the past 20 years. My self-discovery only took a step up in the last 10 years. Before then I seemed to coast along with an air of naivety about who I really was and on reflection, a lack of understanding of consequences and how I truly felt (being a teenager!). Not that I didn’t care, but on the complete opposite, I didn’t want to think about the emotional element of life as it felt too exhausting. I also don’t think my vocabulary would have matched the emotional state I felt at times.
When I was growing up, I was a sheep. I copied my big sister and the people around me, unsure of who I was or an understanding of my own identity. I wasn’t a forward thinker. But I desperately wanted to be one. Fear of not fitting in, or standing out of the crowd scared me to the core.
I remember getting some new school shoes when I was in the Sixth Form doing my A-Levels and although I liked my shoes I didn’t want anyone talking about them or commenting on them. It was only years later that my best friend disclosed to me that her younger sister had said how lovely they were. Her quick response was “don’t tell her that”. My ways hadn’t gone unnoticed. I was clearly very good at repelling people’s attention to me efficiently.
I mention above that I enjoy making people laugh. Coming up with the one-liners to get a reaction, but I’ve since recognised that I am masking my own expectations and low self-esteem. If someone offers me a compliment I am quick to dismiss it and override the comment with a self-critical put-down or belittle the one thing that I have been complimented on.
In the past couple of years I have been playing around with a few ideas and notions that have only recently been stepped up and I’m starting to notice positive changes in my life. It’s nothing new, it’s not revolutionary but it feels powerful. Powerful enough to stop me in my tracks and want to explore, digest and learn as much as possible. I’m excited as I’m ‘peeling the onion’ and dismantling blocks that are 38 years old. Blocks that have held me back from myself and my true potential.
This blog is my journey starting from now, with the occasional flashback to put my experience into context. Tag along if you wish.