Now, should I have that Self-Esteem as a side dish or as my entree, appetizer or dessert?
My old life didn't even include Self-Esteem as a garnish. If you had met me, you would have believed that I was fine, had a fine view of myself, and the confidence to do anything. I knew that something was wrong, but I didn't let that ruin my pretense as a normal person. But even as I excelled - at music, at motherhood, at friendship, at my equine-related businesses, at cooking, you name it - I never could shake the feeling, deep down inside, that I was a failure, that I was a fake, that nobody loved me, and on and on and on. I never felt that my work would be considered good enough, so I was feverish in my efforts to be 'the best' and to be seen as a tough, accomplished person. Yet it only took one comment, one person's doubt, one bully, one harmless mistake, and I could be sent into a tailspin of self-loathing and negativity, all held deep inside, where it festered and ached and caused the tiniest of hairline cracks in my 'image' of myself. I spent my first 50 years living this life, until I couldn't bare to live it any longer, and those little hairline cracks all got together and shattered that 'image' forever.
The best thing that has come from my suicide, by far, is the chance to shed the layers of soul poverty and emerge a whole person, a happy, self-confident, learning-to-be-self-reliant person. For all of the pain and all of the loss I know that who I am now is stronger and kinder and wiser. I have self-esteem for the first time ever. It is mine and can't be taken away from me. It is a beautiful thing, too.
It is an awesome thing for me to accept accolades for my work, without acknowledging or validating the voice of self-doubt that would like to turn earnest compliments into twisted put-downs or shallow pacifiers. I feel whole and alive, not just going through the motions of living. I didn't know it could be like this, just like I didn't know that I was a lifetime victim of abuses. I thought that was normal. And I'll explain more about that in a future installment of this blog. Suffice it to say that I am starting to understand my past life and why I had become what I had become.
Now I don't cook much these days, but its okay, because I find that I like my generous helpings of Self-Esteem served at room temperature or slightly chilled, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, maybe a little butter. All good stuff....it is good.