I spend so much time not confident in who I am. I often think others are judging me by my appearance or because they don’t like the person I am. I have started to try to remember the times that I did feel good about myself, and I try to remember what I felt like in that instance, so that I can start to crave feeling like that so often, I can begin to make a habit of it.
I have been told before that confidence comes from within, however my inside voice tells me I am inherently bad. Let me explain, when I was in grade school I was taught by my best friend I wasn’t good enough to be her friend at school in front of other kids. I was over-weight, and poor, not to mention I was annoying, and considered a cry baby. She made me believe that I was not good enough for anything, not even friendship. Now about 6th grade she finally grew up some, and told the other girls that I was her friend, and they were wrong for thinking I was not good enough to be friends with just because of the way I looked, but by then the damage was already done.
In junior high, and high school boys didn’t date me. I was the “fat, ugly friend”, by age 12 everyone at my school knew I was considered ugly, and fat, and even if their opinion of me differed, they would have never had considered dating me, because that would mean going against what their friends had made them believe. I wasn’t good enough to date.
A lot happened in high school. I had a teacher who told me that she hoped I never had children. She claimed I was a poor excuse for a human, and any child, I would have wouldn’t have a chance in life. Yes, a teacher said this to me. It felt crappy, and that PE teacher did get a phone call down to the dean’s office after my mother called the school to discuss the topic, but the damage was done. I was bad. I wasn’t good enough. I am also proud to say I have four grown boys who are doing well one that goes to a big ten college, and is about to enter his senior year next fall. Another who attends a different state college and speaks four languages fluently. One who just won the full rights to his son, and another who is working full time and doing fabulous in life. That teacher was so wrong.
Then in high school my father left my mother, and I for another woman, and her children, leaving us behind. He then raised another woman’s children, and left me, and we hardly spoke, because she wanted it that way. In fact, on one instance, because of this other child that he ended up raising he hit me numerous times, and security was called at a hotel because of it. He explained it away to my mother as I had gotten out of hand. What was out of hand was him, and his wife’s expectation that I, and my step-sister could handle the other step-sister with-out their interaction that day, and they would not help get her to cooperate. He got mad, and I got beaten, and I don’t mean spanked, I was beaten. I had welts left on my arm for well over a week. Again, I was taught I was a bad person. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but facts are facts. This did happen, and it is a part of my teenage years.
As an adult I handled things fairly well with my confidence level for quite sometime, but I was having coffee with the same friend who taught me in grade school that I wasn’t enough, and she looked at me, and said “I can only handle so much Tosha at one time”, I know it seems like such a simple sentence. It doesn’t seem like it should stick with someone for the next 15 years. However, as a young adult trying to make my way in the world it hurt me, and it stuck with me that this same girl felt that I still wasn’t good enough after almost 30 years of friendship. I was her maid of honor, her mine, and yet I wasn’t good enough to be her friend most of the time around her other friends. I mean, when she got married the last time, I met her husband only one time. Sadly, he passed away not too long ago. I am sure it isn’t easy on her, and I do care about her very deeply as she is my oldest friend. I also don’t believe she understood the damage she was doing when she did these things to me. I don’t think she understood that what she was saying to me, or how she was acting could do so much damage to someone’s self-image that it truly changed the person they became.
I then as an adult let it be found out I was bipolar while working in a small town. As a bus monitor. I ended up having the whole school district of parents calling the superintendent of the school, and the school principal. The parents were making so much of a fuss about me being with their children that I finally gave up, and quit my job because I was already battling depression so badly I had no fight in me to battle the storm that was happening around me, and my public lashing with being bipolar. I again was taught I was inherently bad just by simply being who I was.
Through out my life I have had message after message that has told me from others that I am not enough, and bad. Why? I am not. I am smart, I am compassionate, I am empathetic, I am generous, and caring. I am kind, and a hard-worker, and I give a whole lot of myself to others. It is now though, that I am finally realizing that all of these situations really had nothing to do with me, or the person I was. These situations all had to do with the individual that was at the root of the problem. It was because my friend who, wasn’t confident enough in who she was to say, she wanted to be my friend as a child. It was the teacher who should be ashamed of the way she spoke to a child in her classroom, and obviously did not have the emotional intelligence to be teaching young kids who were being shaped into the individuals they would become as an adult, and should be encouraged, and nurtured not degraded, and taught they are bad, and not worthy of the life they are living, my father, well, he was just a jerk, and the people in my former community, well, they just weren’t educated enough to know that bipolar didn’t mean bad, and there is always going to be that ignorance and that stigma in the world. As much as I wish there wouldn’t be as long as we have people blaming mass shootings on the mentally ill, we are going to have stigma. It’s a fact. BIPOLAR PEOPLE ARE NOT INHERENTLY VIOLENT!
My confidence level has been shot a long time. I however, for the first time in a long time no longer think I am a bad person, or think that people automatically don’t like me. I am actually kinda cool. Maybe we should be friends!
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