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Monday, June 04, 2007

Does Duck Tape Really Fix Everything?

I’m clicking on Laughing Squid’s Writers & Publishers web links one by one. With each link I quickly look over it and self-doubt creeps in a little more and a little more and little more. That nagging little girl entity deep down inside of me that has never grown up and has never felt too sure of herself starts questioning my ability to be a Blogger let alone any kind of a ‘comedy of life’ online columnist.

I scan web sites like Infiltration, Annalee Newitz (Techsploitation) and Wikipedia’s biography of Hunter S. Thompson and I wonder if I’m full of unruly bravado boosting potential for a developing project (not only to myself but to others) that maybe, I have no right to do.

Much too often I find myself plagued by the same insecurities that have held me back in the past only to later find out I could have done it. Or I listen to stories from others who did what I wanted to do and I felt even worse for not following my heart and or desire. More than anything, I hate that nagging little girl that whispers I'm not good enough, not smart enough, or not talented enough, that no one wants to hear what I have to say, so why bother? Too often, I listened to those voices.

I’ve been able to lock her inside a small cabin but she never sleeps, she’s always there making un-approving faces at me, reminding me that she hasn’t gone away and doesn’t plan to. I’ve learned to silence her whiney voice most of the time, but she always manages to find an open window where she whispers insecurities. I can't even begin to imagine how many opportunities I have missed because I listened to her. It saddens me to think of where I could be right now if I only I had the courage and confidence to go forth and pursue my destiny with full vigor.

Fortunately I also carry a stronger entity than her -- she has always wanted to be out. She is the one that has held me up and forced me to keep walking in my most trying times. She’s been there all along, for all of my life rumbling rowdily, building and gaining momentum. I didn’t understand her. I thought she was a danger to me, I believed she was the one that needed to be silenced. I believed that she would cause me harm and didn’t want me be happy. Now I know she was the one trying to save me from the true evil of self-doubt.

Insecurities weigh us down or hold us back. Allowing feelings of self-doubt, feelings of not being good enough, feelings like we don't deserve success, or that success is not ours to achieve seems to burden women more than men. A friend and I were talking about this last night, after we climbed a 10,000 foot mountain with nothing but a bottle of water, a small pug dog and an over zealous health …. Ok, it wasn’t 10,000 feet but Runyon Canyon Park felt like it at the time.

Next to guilt, self-doubt is one of the most self-defeating personal emotions to carry. There’s a book named Living the Artist's Life by Paul Dorrell. This is excerpted from chapter eight of the book.

Every living artist I’ve ever worked with, and every deceased artist I’ve ever studied, have all shared one simple trait: each of them has gone through varying levels of self-doubt; each of them, at different times in their lives, has questioned the worth of their talent. No one that I know of has ever been exempt from this. For some, like the poet Sylvia Plath (who was also a talented illustrator), their spells of doubt and depression were mind-numbing, paralyzing, and, in the end, beyond their control. For others, like Picasso, those spells were nothing more than a minor dip on their emotional graph.

I feel that spells of self-doubt occur so that we will reassess our lives, and work. For some, these spells can virtually destroy them if they don’t keep their emotions in check.

I do feel that I have the tools at hand to conquer the demons that have always held me back. I look around me and I see opportunity at every turn.

The days of making excuses for why I can't are over. It's not that I’ve plugged into some super Matrix of overwhelming self-confidence -- I’m still battling the whiney little girl of self-doubt. It is because I no longer want to deny myself the possibilities that are laid out before me under a sunny California sky. There is something great out there for me, and it is my mission to find it, to claim it and make it mine. Anyone have any duck tape I could barrow? There’s a slow whispering leak I need to fix.

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