I met a new friend recently and when I told her about my education background, she said, “That is so brave of you, to just up and leave everything and everyone you know and move half way around the world.”
But she’s wrong. There’s a difference between being brave and being fearless. Being brave is to overcome something you’re afraid of and forging ahead. Being fearless is to not even realize you’re afraid. I was the latter. I was 22 and I was fearless.
Now I’m in my 30s, mother of a young child, and I. Am. Afraid. Of. Everything.
20s and turbulence: Woohoo! This is like a roller coaster!
30s and turbulence: If something happens to the plane, I won’t be able to protect my son.
20s and health: Eh, whatever I have will most likely resolve itself.
30s and health: OMG, WhatIsThisAmIGoingToDie, what if Dragon loses his mother.
20s and safety: Fast driving, fast talking, fast drinking, fast fast fast.
30s and safety: We’re almost at the speed limit, can you slow down? There’s a child in the car.
You get the picture.
Now I’m looking to retire my role as a full-time Mommy and sniffing around for positions in the workforce again, and I realize this fearless/fearful situation is even revealing itself in something as simple as sitting in front of the computer and searching LinkedIn.
Straight out of grad school, I only applied for jobs that I was waaaaay under qualified for. “What have I got to lose?” was the mentality and my ego was gigantic. And looking back, I’m seeing that ego can be cleverly disguised as confidence, and confidence (along with skills obviously) wins over interviewers.
This go around, I find myself mostly applying for jobs I am over qualified for. The nagging voice in my head constantly undermines myself. “How are you going to explain the gap between employment?” “Will being a SAHM for awhile make me less desirable?” “What if I lost my touch?”
What ifs plaque my mind.
Is this an age thing? Maybe something that comes with the territory of becoming a parent? Or is it just me? Have I just gotten soft?
Dragon (in bed in the dark) to Georgie: Don’t be a messy messy messy boy. Just clean up with a napkin.
Dragon: Why are our heads hard?
Me: Cause we’re really smart.
Me to Husband: Hey baby, (blah blah blah)
Dragon: Why you call him a baby. He’s not a baby, he’s Daddy.
Me: He’s your Daddy, but he’s not my Daddy.
Dragon: Yeah, he’s your brother.
I’ve read four books this year so far, and that is by far a lot more than I read by Feb of 2015. I think part of the reason I’ve been much faster at getting through books is because all four of these have been extremely powerful.
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
You can’t get more stay-up-all-night, at-the-edge-of-your-seat than that!
But the fourth, and latest one, I think resonated with me the most.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola.
“I understood drinking to be the gasoline of all adventure.”
“Wine has become our social glue, the mechanism of our bonding. We needed the wine to shut out the jackhammers of our own perfectionism and unlock the secrets we kept within.”
“A certain group of women have made booze a very public and very integral part of culture. Young, educated, and drunk.”
“I drank myself to a place I didn’t care, but I woke up a person I cared enormously.”
“The nights I can’t remember are the nights I can’t forget.”
“I’ve always been mixed up about attention, enjoying its warmth but not its scrutiny. I swear I’ve spent half my life hiding behind a couch and the other half wondering why no one was paying attention to me.”
“People like me disguised our true feelings in layers of detachment, endless pop-culture references, sarcasm. Because no one can break your heart if they don’t know it.”
“The wine turned down the volume of my own self-doubt, which is what I blocked writer is battling: the bullying voices in her head telling her each thought is unoriginal, each word too ordinary.”
“The real problem is that I still fear my own talent is deficient. This isn’t merely a problem for writers who drink; it’s a problem for drinkers and writers, period. We are cursed by a knowing fear that whatever we are – it’s not good enough.”
“What a powerful voodoo – to believe brilliance could be sipped or poured.”
I’ve been spending a lot of time with someone lately, and as much as I love her and want to cherish the short time we have together, I feel myself drowning in negative thoughts and feelings. I’m dryly sarcastic a lot, and often say non-PC things I would be crucified for if I were a politician or celebrity, but I’m not a negative person, and people who are constantly critical and judgmental of everyone and everything bother me a lot.
My inner monologue lately consists a lot of, “Stop it stop it stop it!” or “Shut up shut up shut up!” or “Oh my God, did you really just say that out loud?”
If you start your sentences with, “I’m not criticizing, but…” you’re most likely gonna follow that up with a criticize.
So the more time I spend with her, the smaller I felt myself becoming. Angry. Frustrated. Negative. Ugly. Stupid.
I took an hour walk with Dragon on our own, and I noticed myself walking taller, smiling more at passerbys, friendlier to the service industry people I encountered, more patient to Dragon in general, and there was light in my footsteps. Wow. She doesn’t just criticize me. She criticized everyone. How did I allow that to get to me? How did I allow myself to forget I’m fabulous?
Browsing Pinterest to get some motivation and positive encouragement, I came across this, and suddenly, it became clear to me.
This person, who is negative about everything except herself and her immediate family, who boasts and brags about how fabulous her life is and how wonderful and perfect her husband and children are…well, perhaps it’s just to divert from her own unhappiness and insecurities. On the outside she seems like the most confident person (ya know, perfect life and perfect family, etc.) but her need to constantly put others down, or be combative about anything another person says, that is the crack in the facade.
So if you have anyone in your life that makes you feel small, or any less than you are, or just brings you down in general, don’t let them do that to you. If anything, you should feel sorry for them, for they are probably the ones who are secretly unhappy, insecure, and close-minded.
And you? Well, my dear. You are nothing but fabulous.
It’s been a long time since I’ve even looked at pictures of Paris. Priorities are different now.
Sometimes, I’m sad about that.
It’s houses like these that make San Francisco beautiful:
But in reality, most of SF-ers live in houses like these:
Hashtag tourists don’t know nothing.
My God who is the lucky recipient of this ring and what is their story?!
“Smooth out your skirt and do not look at him.”
— Advice for those who love people they shouldn’t.
One of my favorite photos of me in my wedding dress.
I actually saw someone else trying it on and was like, “What is that?! I want that!!”