Okay, I’m torn. I have been mulling over a lot of things lately and I want to write about them but today I took a walk in the unusually warm weather with Max and he is insisting that I write about him. Selfish beast. So I will solve it by putting in a picture of him on our walk and tell you that there is more to come another day, it really was a pleasant sort of walk and he was very happy to come with me although you might not tell it from his picture. He is a very serious sort of cat except when he’s not.
So as I was saying, I’ve been pondering some stuff which I’m very good at. Being an artist and self-employed and having no kids, just the four legged variety, I have lots of time to ponder. This week’s theme is self-esteem.
You see, somewhere along the way, between childhood and my advanced middle-aged years, I stopped liking myself. If I had to guess, having taken the childhood development class that I did, I would say that it happened along about the time that my hormones kicked in which would make me about 13. Yup. That sounds about right. Somewhere in high school I started to feel like I was falling behind in all sorts of things, the least of which was schoolwork. I just never quite understood the party thing, the boy thing, the make-up and hairdo thing. Up to that point I had happily read Good Housekeeping (it had good stories, what can I say?). All of a sudden I was subscribing to Seventeen magazine in order to educate myself on how to be a beautiful teenager. There was nobody in my family who could help me, my mother was useless in this regard and my sisters were long gone to their own lives by the time it became an issue. So I had no one to ask, and besides, I didn’t know enough to ask someone.
Which brings me to the second point about self-esteem. I have gone through an enormous amount of years thinking that I not only had to be Very Good at things but that I had to do it without Asking Questions. The rule of this game was to show your intelligence, to hide any ineptitude by merely Being Good (read: perfect) and not admitting that you have no idea what the hell you are doing. And that’s the way I lived life. It’s amazing how this affected my life and my self esteem. I never felt like I really had a handle on Life and I was always afraid that Someone would find out that I really knew nothing. Very few people found that out, I was Very Good at Being Good and faking a whole lot of intelligence that I didn’t really possess. What pressure I put on myself, eh?
So, fast forward to my middle age years. I am working on being quite honest with myself. I now ask myself if there is anything I don’t know about a subject and if the answer is “yes”, I find out who knows this information…and I ASK QUESTIONS. This actually does wonders for my self-esteem. It means that I have the correct information in order to do a job correctly, and I can flourish in confidence instead of wallowing in fear.
But, (yup there is a but) I still have miles to go before I like myself. And that is definitely a female thing. What Seventeen magazine did was to show me the difference between myself and the perfect girls on the page. The more I read, the uglier I felt and the uglier I felt, the more I sabotaged myself. And here I am still doing it, still looking at my self in the mirror and knowing that I will never, ever look like Christie Brinkley no matter how hard I try or how much money I spend. And to top it all off, I am at the age where lines on the face turn to wrinkles, age spots take their place in odd places with pride and determination and other things too numerous to mention are happening to my body.
When I was young I said blithely “I’m not going to have plastic surgery, I can’t believe that anyone would want to do that.” I can honestly say that I understand it now. I still won’t get plastic surgery unless I get the family chin wattle…that will NOT be hanging around (pun intended). I am, however, thinking that it’s time to check out the age spot that has taken up residence under my left eye. And I am also thinking about getting braces to fix the crooked teeth that I have lived with forever (thanks mom and dad for not doing anything about that when I was young). Some of what I am trying to change has to do with comfort and ease of life and I am looking forward to being more comfortable for the next 50 years. But some of it is just vanity and vanity, as you know, walks hand in hand with Self Esteem.
So I’m working on liking myself but I still have a long way to go. Maybe I’ll get there, maybe not. But it’s worth the struggle. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to have more self esteem, why, I’ll take any suggestions you might have. I have a feeling there is at least one more post about this writing itself in my head and I would love to add your thoughts to the mix…