BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
“Believe in yourself, “I whisper to my subconscious. I close my eyes, and I see the words pass through my mind. Nobody believed in you, so you need to do it for yourself.
I had thought for the longest time that I was not good enough. I never planned a career for myself because I didn’t believe I had what it took to be successful. Being brushed aside so often as a child slowly wore away any desire I had to be Somebody. Sexual assault and emotional neglect left me completely empty, a shell of a girl. All my dreams and hopes were lost in space. The school system, police, and Children’s Aid all brushed me aside. I was utterly alone, setting out into the world to defend myself from what seemed like everyone.
If the institutions put in place to protect me didn’t want to help me, then who would? The message was made very clear to me at a young age that it was a cold, hard world that I would need to navigate on my own.
I’ve just finished the first draft of my first novel and I’m thinking about how much I enjoy writing. I’ve also remembered how much I enjoyed it as a young girl: I remember at the age of thirteen, telling my father that I wanted to be a journalist. He smiled and said he thought that would be great. I asked, “Do you really think I’m good enough that I would be able to be a journalist?” Honestly, I don’t remember the answer, but I do remember the feeling. It was one of dread. There was no way that I was good enough to make a career out of writing, something that I loved. I felt such great disappointment and could not rise above it. By this time in my life, I had been victimized multiple times and did not trust anyone, including myself.
I did not believe in myself, nor did I think or feel that anyone else believed in me. I held this victim mentality for a very long time, and ended up in some terrible situations. Children need someone to believe in them, it helps them cultivate their belief in themselves. I suppose I just got unlucky. Everyone around me was struggling to stay afloat themselves, and didn’t have the time or energy to invest in me. I continued to be brushed aside, until one day, I decided to believe in myself. I forced away the toxic shame and fear that kept me prisoner, and which kept me from embracing my creative side. The more I believed in myself, the more others would believe in me as well. Self-worth and belief in oneself come from within. When others believe in us, it is a reflection of our own beliefs. No one is going to fill you up. Nor should you want them to. We must fill ourselves up. Only we know exactly what we need.
My advice to anyone who is struggling would be to get involved in a group. Sports, music, art, or whatever piques your curiosity. You don’t need experience, and you can be terrible at it. As long as there is hope to get better with practice, you will be ok. Sports are what really helped me start to turn around the victim mentality. Improving my fitness brought me happiness. Checking off those goals as I hit them made me start to really believe in myself.
Now, here I am almost finished my first novel, a dream I gave up on twenty-six years ago when I was thirteen years old because I didn’t think I was good enough. Every day we have a choice: we can fall victim to our circumstances, or we can rise, even if at times we fall back down. We can choose to believe in ourselves, even if it’s against all odds that we will succeed. We can choose to be happy.