Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reflections on building self-esteem.

Why is it that baring my soul always comes hand-in-hand with internal change? I mean, to others. I just vomited an 800 word essay all over the Grove mailing list about music and my personal issues with performance anxiety. I hope the typos aren't too bad. This was one of those instances where I knew if I went back to proofread that I wouldn't send it. It was honest and ugly and all sorts of healing, so I have no regrets.

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is my personal capacity for insecurity. Does one ever outgrow that? I am 31 years old, and I still shake in my shoes when someone asks me a question in case I might not know or might stutter when I talk. I sometimes make mistakes when I play guitar in a religious setting because I am so nervous that my hand gets all sweaty and slips on the strings. It's really annoying.

And what I hate the most is my projection of negative thoughts about me into the minds of others. These are the inner demons I fight to ignore. I can thank my father for many of them. It's not that he was a mean or judgmental person (with me, anyway). He just spent a lot of time "teasing" me about those things that were the most important to me "to make me stronger." He wanted me to be able to handle anything that was thrown at me by the world. If only he knew the worst I ever had thrown at me would come from him.

I actually feel really good right now. I feel like I am making improvements, and this letter I sent to the Grove is a definite sign of growth on my part, as will be evident to those who know me at all. And I think that where I am right now, observable while I am still in that space between the brake and the gas, is somewhere I haven't been before inside. These are uncharted waters, and I am not as scared as I used to be. This fear of performance, this inability to share my bardic arts with ease, this is the last to go. Once I get over this, I think I may finally be free.

There was a moment at the last liturgy meeting when general mayhem broke out for a few minutes. There were about six or eight individual conversations going on all at once, and I was not participating in any of them. I felt very alone in that moment and out of place. I was drawn out of it when I made eye contact with Mike, who asked me how I was doing from across the room in his Mike way (which made me happy), but I was left trying to explain how I felt and why I felt that way for days (which I posted about). Spending some time in reflection now that the emotions of that moment are gone has made me realize that moment was a period of adjustment. I am very different than I was at the beginning of the summer. During those few moments where I was not participating, I was internally adjusting, aligning the new me with the Grove in ways of which I still don't know the full depth. I feel more confident than I ever have and more mature. I'm sure I still have a ways to go (don't we all), but for the first time in as long as I can remember, I feel capable of doing what I have been charged to do, music, IP/OotC or otherwise. And therein lies my joy: in my confidence in myself.

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