I asked, how do I get to a place where self doubt no longer creeps behind me, whispering “I told you so” as we wait for failure to meet us?
After a long train ride, I walked the hill to my room, questioning myself once again. What have I become? Have these months of growth meant anything to me? I felt tears behind my eyes and told myself not to cry. I’d have to see my roommates and deal as they asked what was wrong, concern etched on their faces. Right now was not the time. I began reverting back to my old ways, the shutting down the moment a problem came. Lately it’s been one after the other. There has been a cloud of impending doom following me for weeks now. It’s as though the world is resting my shoulders. I began to crumble under the weight, each step harder and harder to take.
This semester I told myself I’d get at least a 3.5. A grade I’m embarrassed to admit has never graced my transcript. Not even close. As the weeks have worn on, I’ve felt myself slipping. Each test and paper felt longer and more difficult than the last. She told me my papers weren’t focused while another professor exclaimed how thoughtful my work was. Confusion crossed my face several times as I remembered their words. How can one love what I write and the other not understand? Half way through I reminded myself that all I needed was a 3.0. “That’s still better than what you’re use to”, I said. Every downgrade felt like failure.
She mentioned self doubt being a problem. Something in me ached realizing I wasn’t alone. I asked her, “how do you deal with it? The self doubt. I feel like I’m missing opportunities.” I’ve let myself down. What if I’m not good enough?
I told them that I need to let go of fear. She asked me what fears. I laughed, everything. Failure. Rejection. Judgement. Things that have stopped me for years. Trunks of old feelings fill my attic. Every few weeks I creep up the stairs. Dust glistens in the moon light, I walked closer to the most recent. The words scratched into the surface by a knife just too dull to make a real impact. I opened it, old feelings rushed back in an instant.
Self doubt coupled with my fears has left me in a bad place. The three of us stood in the hallway, face to face, trying to decide who would crack first. So I whispered to self doubt, telling it to go away, I’m tired of not doing things out of fear. It simply laughed in my face, “I’ll never leave you alone.”