Updated: May 15, 2019
I left high school at 18 with all the confidence in the world.
I believed in myself, my abilities, and was generally okay with my looks. I was at least tolerating what I saw in the mirror each day.
The last decade of my life has witnessed a complete crumbling of my self -confidence…..I mean rock bottom, aka I hated myself, didn’t believe in myself, and absolutely detested the person I saw in the mirror each day.
I went from being captain/coach/leader of every organization I participated in, to someone involved in zero teams, organizations, and isolation at home.
I didn’t lose my confidence overnight, and I sure as hell haven’t gained it back in a second.
Everything is complicated and intertwined, but the theme can be summed up in one word: storytelling. At the end of the day, we are all just great and amazing storytellers.
who we are
what we’re good at
what we’re not good at
who we like
who we don’t like
who doesn’t like us
what we can achieve in this life
what we will never achieve
For me, I left high school and my story was that of a “good girl.” I had made 4.0’s, I was involved in everything, I worked, I coached little kids, I was someone to look up to, I was nice, I was organized, I was intentional……basically I told myself I was perfect. Well that little story blew to hell in a handbag.
I lied to myself and because of that, I set myself up for failure.There is nothing more crushing to your soul than to declare yourself as a specific adjective and then go take actions that make you a liar to yourself.
For instance, I would tell myself I was organized, yet I knew I couldn’t keep my room clean to save my life. So every time I saw my room in college, I would send a message to myself that I’m “bad.”
WORDS ARE SO POWERFUL!
Each little “bad” built up over time until I started to believe I was bad person. Having an identity surrounding “good girl” and “perfection” doesn’t leave a lot of room for discovery or curiosity.
When I tried drinking at parties and found myself blacked out on a floor, I quickly decided I was “bad.” What was actually just me exploring the world became deep shame for nights out, failing a difficult course, and being unable to budget my finances and keep my room/house clean.
Oh and on top of it all, I certainly wasn’t able to maintain what I thought was a “perfect” body type. I worked tirelessly and relentlessly to punish myself for the “unperfect” body I had. After soooooo many moments of “bad,” I began to believe I was broken, undesirable, unreliable, etc. Each moment of “bad” created a new Michelle and her story was of a girl who did it all wrong and looked ugly while doing it.
If I could tell my 18 year -old self anything, I would first hug her. I would squeeze her so hard and say “You can fucking do this! It’s going to be hard and scary, BUT you can’t imagine how amazing life will be on the other side of the shit show you are about to endure.” Then I would tell her, “Please Mick! Please listen to me on this one. You don’t have to fit in. You don’t have to be perfect. It might seem crazy, but you aren’t supposed to “fit in” or “like” what typical college students seem to like. It doesn’t make you different. It makes you perfect for your tribe.” She will of course not understand what that means, but that’s part of her journey: to lose all her confidence and then slowly gain it back with each new commitment to live her truth and to live by her rules. I’d love to take away all the pain she will experience as she attempts to mold into whoever and whatever she thinks is “perfect,” but I can’t. Her pain will be her greatest gift.
I can’t spare her from chasing guys that don’t like her.
I can’t spare her from being sexually assaulted multiple times in the next ten years.
I can’t spare her from hating her body and crying because she feels stuck in it.
I can’t spare her from “never being picked.”
I can't spare her from the shame of a messy house and over withdrawn bank accounts.
You see, she will use that pain to wake herself up and remember the goddess she has always been.
She will use that pain to turn on a light for all the others just like her. Her pain will call in her tribe, and she will remember who she has always been.
She is magic! I am magic! What is your story?