After writing a whole blog post about believing in myself, one does not automatically wake up the next morning with the ideal level of self-confidence.
To find the origin of my uncertainty, we must travel back 30 years to my senior year of high school. It is pretty close to the end of the school year. I was sweating bullets in the classroom–not because of the Iack of air-conditioning–but because I was putting the finishing touches on my latest journalism assignment. It was due at the end of class, and I was pretty proud of my piece on where I see myself in five years. In my article, I visualized myself sitting in the middle of a busy newsroom working on a feature story for the Sunday paper.
When the bell rang, my teacher walked around the room to collect our papers. I handed mine to her and noticed her lingering by my desk. She began to walk toward the front of the classroom, but then abruptly turned around to look me straight in the eye.
“You know, Elisa – I don’t think you have what it takes to be a journalist,” she said as a matter of fact.
Imagine my disbelief. I was 18 years old, and this bitch was already instilling a fear of failure in me before I graduated. I was so shocked that I had no response, but I remember the tears streaming down my face as I walked to my locker.
Since that day, she has been taking up way too much real estate inside my head. She has enjoyed her stay rent-free, but this year she is getting her eviction notice. The letter goes something like this:
Dear Ms. O.,
Maybe you thought you were doing me a favor that day when you told me I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. It didn’t occur to you that I’d been writing since the 4th grade, and it is all I’ve ever thought about doing with my life. You just opened your mouth and gave me your unsolicited opinion. It certainly wasn’t a fact.
Maybe at the time, I didn’t have the sense of adventure an investigative reporter needs. I’m chalking that up to my youth and somewhat sheltered childhood where taking risks was not encouraged. You were supposed to be my mentor and my teacher. How sad that you felt you needed to overpower my dreams with your cruelty. How I wish you had just kept on walking to the front of the classroom that day.
And guess what, today I’m a writer. I’ve had a successful career in communications and a blog that has fans and followers. I am a writer with a garden full of ideas that continues to grow. And I believe that someday one of those ideas will blossom into a book.
Today, I am pulling your lease. You have worn out your welcome. It is my fault for letting you stay too long. I blame myself for not turning my writing dreams into a reality a decade ago. But, I blame you for starting me on the path of self-doubt. All of that ends now.
Don’t let the door hit you in the ass when you leave.