Insecurities are such funny things in that they come in waves throughout your life. My son, for example, has yet to know what the word means. At the age of 4, he navigates his world full of confidence and with a lightness of being that only children have. I am filled with dread over the day when he is first bullied or made fun of by other kids because I know that the smallest seed of doubt will take root in him and that he’ll never be quite as carefree. Sure, he’ll recover from it, but from that point on, he will always consider what other people think of him, at least until he gets much older.
I have to admit that when I found out that we were having a girl, a little part of my heart broke for her. You see, I know what it’s like growing up as a girl and adolescence can be rough. You never feel quite pretty enough or popular enough. Some people will tell you you’re too thin or heaven forbid, not thin enough and as you’re learning to navigate who you are as a person, all of those messages can be brutalizing on your self-esteem. I mean, I cringe when I think back to how hard of a time I gave myself from the ages of 12 to 18 especially about things that I could not change (like my slightly crooked Greek nose). But you know what? I am now so thankful that I derived my self-esteem from sports and academics and not from being the prettiest girl in my school (which I wasn’t by a long shot). I now have no qualms with growing older and I think that’s because I stopped focusing on how I looked and started focusing on how I felt. Plus, I have both arms, both legs and the use of all five senses. I prefer to think of myself as functional instead of decorative.
In the present day, I would have to say that my biggest insecurity has to do with putting myself “out there.” I don’t even know if insecurity is even the right word for it, but it definitely gives me the most angst. I’m not completely anti-social (meaning that I do have social skills when I need them), but my natural inclination is to draw into myself. I feel incredibly awkward in most social situations and that’s probably because I don’t relate well to most people. I am very focused in how I choose to live my life and that intensity makes a lot of people uncomfortable. People who dislike me often do so instantly and they characterize me as bitchy, arrogant or aloof (or so I’ve heard, ha!). The good news is that it saves me the hassle of having to deal with someone that I wouldn’t want to spend time with anyways. The bad news is that I’m sometimes forced to deal with them over and over again when they happen to be someone I work with or the parent of one of my kid’s friends. Oi!
What I’m proud of is that instead of changing myself to fit in better, I’ve stayed true to myself and let the cards fall as they may. In my (relatively) older age, I realize that it is entirely too much effort to put on a show and even though the people that I click with are few and far between, it is immensely satisfying to find a kindred spirit in a sea of acquaintances. The friends that I do have, I consider friends for life and between us, there is no need for smoke and mirrors. We know each other for who we are and no matter how much time goes between conversations, we are there for each other when in need. Amen to that!