Teresa - San Jose, California
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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You’ve decided that not believing in yourself is an annihilation of the soul. It is an unconditional sin. It is a dependable unavailability. It is a curse without a disguise. You play it safe when you do not believe in yourself. You dip a toe into superb waters and pull it back out before gauge of temperature even registers. So-called “leaps of faith” are passionately out of the question. There is nothing to ask, and nothing to ponder. You just perch nervously. You never break a sweat, you never scrape your knees, and you never feel a damn thing other than the unmitigated phobia of yourself. You tell the mirror you are just cautious. Your heart pleads with you and you silence it with more self-doubt. Why are you so alert? it says. Your fears have no merit. You never even gave yourself a chance.

You wore your father’s tragic beliefs like a parka in an igloo of self-deception. He gave it to you unknowingly. You trusted him and his flawed dispositions because you were a loyal five-year old with too much forsaken love. Maybe he would love you if you did things his way, you thought. You were wrong. Your heart was too tremendous for a person who never quite knew what to do with it. You knocked on his door and he didn’t even know how to turn the knob. Maybe he was just afraid of himself too. Here was a little girl; his little girl, who had what he didn’t even know he needed; didn’t believe himself to be worthy, and everyone lost out.

When you doubt yourself you have vibrant desires that desperately beg to see the light of day. You want to see the globe, but your vision is too narrow to look beyond the fear you carry around in your old and tired baggage. You want to know real adventure but doubts linger for far too long like cigarette smoke on clean linens. They never seem to wash out. You sought external adoption from alcohol because internal acceptance was too unthinkable. Alcohol made you a part of the family at your first gathering. It was a self-betrayal that was birthed from the miscarriage of self-belief.

Looking back, you see how not believing in yourself was your weapon of mass self-destruction. It opened up unfortunate doors to a world you didn’t have to know existed. You realize that nothing that has happened to you can be erased, it can only be written over. No one is to blame; there are no valid fingers to be pointed. You pick yourself up by the strap of your ankle boots and you just keep walking. At first the self-belief is a bit flimsy. You trip a few times, succumbing to the fear when the unfamiliarity gets too frightening. You aren’t really sure if this is how it’s supposed to be done, if this is how normal people do it. You are almost certain this is absolutely not how normal people do it. You feel bizarre. You are Bashful and Wobbly in a flamboyant parade of Stability. You quiver anyway because your new gait is too genuine to disown. You know to just keep walking because you understand there is no other way. You unearth new trails because you must. You develop a relationship with a Divinity you don’t dare question. This Love is too powerful to be a gimmick.

Your heart gets much louder. The pleading has stopped sounding whiny and irritating, and starts sounding like your own voice. The voice you forgot you had, the voice your father was never able to pass down to you. The voice you start turning to in times of need. Your dreams get bolder. They make themselves known and you no longer ignore the picture they paint. In short, you start to believe. Self-belief becomes a daily practice of affirming in your mind that you are whole. That there is nothing lacking, that everything is in its place. You especially. Life begins to feel like Christmas morning. There are gifts everywhere. You start to love everything, even the things your thoughts tell you not to. Your heart understands sometimes jewels are packaged and sold as unremarkable rock. You accept you will walk this path for the remainder of your days, gleefully. With maps and tools in hand, you let go of the strain on your heart, and you continue on the odyssey towards yourself.