At the moment, I’m currently in the midst of redecorating my bedroom. It hasn’t been touched in 14 YEARS (I know, I know) so this is long overdue.
Part of redecorating as I’m sure you’ll be aware, is sorting through the mountains of rubbish that you seem to have accumulated over the years. There I was at the weekend, minding my own business when I stumbled across a book we were all given in 1999 when I left secondary school. A sort of yearbook, if you will.
We’d had a leaving party in the school hall to celebrate finishing school and were all handed one of these books there. I flicked through it, giggling at the photos in there and the old fashions we sported, trying to remember everybody’s names and then I got to this page:
I had a vague recollection of these ‘awards’ being discussed at the leaving party. The head of year was up on stage and he talked through them. From what I recall, no actual trophies or certificates were given out, it was more of a mickey-taking, light-hearted idea to take up a page of the book. Various silly accolades were dished out, such as:
I scanned my way down the page and saw that my name was there. I’d actually forgotten all about it. My award? Well, see for yourself:
That’s right; the “I’m No Good At Anything” award. I know this sounds dramatic but I read that line and felt as if I’d been hit by a bus. I immediately welled up and before I knew it, was crying my eyes out. I know it sounds stupid, but let me explain.
All throughout my education and just in life in general, I’ve always suffered with extremely low self-confidence and a lack of belief in myself and my own abilities. My teachers obviously picked up on this (it would’ve been hard not to) and every parent’s evening or school report echoed the words “she really needs to believe in herself more” or “she tends to suffer from a lack of confidence”. I’d just like to point out that in no way were my teachers bashing me for this, quite the opposite. They were trying to snap me out of it because they believed in me, even if I didn’t. My parents have always wanted the same for me too.
The reason I got so upset at seeing this 20 years on, was because nothing has changed. Deep down, I’m STILL that 15 year old girl who has the bare minimum in her confidence reserves and who second guesses herself at every turn. And I’m a mixture of sad and angry about this.
I’m angry at myself, for letting two decades go by and still be clueless as to just HOW I can change for the better. I’m angry that in all this time, I’ve never been able to find a way to shake off my inner naysayers; the little voices inside my head which say “you’re not good enough” or “is there even any point when it’ll go to someone else?”
And I’m sad for 15 year old me, because I should have done better for her. I should have done my utmost to ensure that she didn’t go into adulthood with these same feelings of crippling self-doubt. Who knows how differently her life may have turned out if she’d just believed in herself?
It isn’t as though I haven’t tried. Believe me when I say that I’ve attempted the power of positive thinking more times than I care to remember. But each time, I always revert back to my old ways.
Usually because no matter how positively I’ve approached something, no matter how hard I’ve worked at it, it never seems to go in the right direction. Or it does move in the right way; but only for so long before I come up against a dead end. It’s very rare that I ever get the desired outcome.
I know what you’re going to say – Don’t give up. Keep pushing. Keep trying. Keep striving. And I will. My confidence and self-belief in adulthood tends to come in peaks and troughs. The peaks are obviously when I’m really pushing for something, before I get knocked back down again.
The more you get knocked down though, the harder it gets to dust yourself off and have another go. All I can do is just continue to keep fighting, as best as I have the strength to do. Maybe one day it will start to pay off?
And to 15 year old me – I’m truly sorry.