Self-Doubt

I recently wrote a post with the question of whether or not I am a toxic person.

Logically, I know that I am trying to be the best person I can be even though it doesn’t always show. What I didn’t know is that my self-doubt would increase tremendously since I lost the friend that forced me to confront this question. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I can understand it and realize that it happened and there’s not much I can do what happened in the past but I didn’t realize that it would follow me for months.

It’s not the first time I’ve been through a loss of some sort. It’s happened before and crushed everything I knew about myself. I remember feeling like I disappeared for a while. I had to really work hard to find myself. I went through therapy and really worked on myself and I became someone I liked and respected. After I entered my 30s, I thought I knew who I was. I had read enough books and really took a look at my life. I found things and people I loved and believed that I had settled into who I was supposed to be. I had accomplished some pretty cool things that I was proud of and moved forward.

There’s been a lot of changes since that point. It’s been almost 8 years since I turned 30. And somehow, I’m back in the middle of a bunch of questions. I have constantly been meeting new people through my kids’ schools and classes and through the dance classes we teach. And through it all, I thought I knew myself and had accepted the fact that not everyone would be my best friend. That was okay. I knew who my tribe was. I knew the strength of the bonds I had formed.

But now, I’m questioning the basic core of myself. Am I someone that people want to be around? Am I someone that my kids like? Am I someone that I can respect?

I have fallen back into the trap of questioning myself after every social engagement. I worry that I said the wrong thing or did something that offended someone. The logical grown-up in me knows that whatever happens happens and it’s okay as long as I tried my best to be a good person but the emotional anxiety in me has risen up immensely.

Do I have to go through the same work again to be comfortable with myself? How do I learn to trust myself again? What if no one ever likes me? (Oh man, that thought makes me feel like a teenager again.) How do I know that this won’t happen with other people?How do I know if I’m disappointing or hurting someone else enough that they will decide to stop being my friend as well?

How do I manage this self-doubt?

 

The Itch To Change

I’ve gotten comfortable. I have now fallen into my stay-at-home mom schedule with a set of responsibilities and I’ve become comfortable. My biggest challenge is literally just to find a way to get dinner done before I have to leave for the gym since the time I go is dinner time for the kids.

I know I should be proud of raising children and taking care of my family and etc etc etc. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’m meant for more.

The last time I had this feeling, I changed around my whole life. I left the relationship I was in, my job had just laid me off, and I had just finished my MBA. That’s when I met someone who became my business partner and together, we developed a really great dance show. It was great. It was exactly what I needed at the time and it brought me a sense of fulfillment and contentment.

I have that feeling again. This time, I don’t think I need to make any major changes. I love my husband and my kids and the life we have created. My husband and I have also started teaching dance as a side business and are loving it.

That itch is still there though. I’m not sure what it means or what I should also be doing. I know things I’ve dreamt of but I’m not sure which ones are meant to come true and which ones I really want to pursue. I don’t know if I have the motivation to really figure out what it is that I need. I don’t even know which ones are realistic.

Have you ever sat on the edge of something you know will change you? I don’t know how to quite describe it. I’ll know it when I see it. And afterwards, I’ll be like “Remember when I was talking about this? This is how it happened. “.

To quote The Little Mermaid “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something is starting right now.” (It’s stuck in my head. Thank you, children of mine.)

 

What About Your Friends? (Throwback to TLC)

There are some days that it really hits that I don’t have that many friends. I definitely have a few good friends but I’m not getting 800 invites per weekend to do things. People aren’t throwing parties in my honor, I’m not getting a ton of texts a day, and my weekends aren’t crammed with random events.

To be fair, having kids also limits your social life a little bit but I don’t want to blame them since this has spilled over from my life pre-kids.

My friends have now evolved into people who will come running any time of the day if I need them, people who will be there to the best of their ability between their busy lives, people who I can be completely open to about what I feel and think.

And while I love that I do have some really good friends, sometimes, it does hit me that I’m never going to be the popular girl.

I guess I never was. From the second I was in school, I have never been the center of anyone’s crowd. I’ve never been the person that everyone needed at a party. I’m not the person that would up anyone’s social standing (if there is still such a thing). Even my “groups” from college or different dance teams have moved in a different direction. And while I was there though, I was always on the periphery. I was the one person who was good friends with one of the people in the group which is how I was a part of it.

Honestly, I suck at making small talk with people. And to be completely blunt, sometimes, I’d rather be home with a good book or watching tv than be in a social setting full of people I don’t know.

For example, a few years ago I went to a party without my kid for the first time since becoming a mom. I was so excited to be able to be in the party scene again. But when I was there, I spent all my time hanging out with a good friend who I still saw on a monthly basis and talked to all the time anyways. I did small talk with a bunch of other people who I knew but wasn’t really friends with and then just hung out with the person I was most comfortable with and liked being around. It made me wonder what the point was of being at this party.

Recently, I watched someone who has a lot of friends at their social events. I kept trying to figure out if she was just more extroverted than I or maybe nicer than I am. Maybe she is just easy-going enough to be able to accumulate a lot more friends. Maybe she just has more time since she isn’t raising 2 smalls kids. (Although again, I don’t think that is a fair assessment because these personality traits of mine were there before I had kids.)

I also started wondering if sometimes, people just hang out with each other so they have “friends”. Do some of them in the group really even like each other? Or do they just tolerate it because it’s their group?

I don’t really have a conclusion to this. All I know is that this is where I am in life. At this point, I don’t really expect it to change. Maybe between the time I was a teenager to my 20s. Or my 20s to my 30s. But now, on the downside to 40, I doubt that I can change this part of my personality. I don’t even know if I’d want to. I’ve made the effort this far in my life and maybe it’s time for me to just be.

This might just be who I am.

Halloween: Frumpy or Sexy?

Simran: I saw a great post on Reddit today on the evolution of women & halloween.

Halloween is coming and we are shopping for costumes for our baby’s first halloween. It has to be CUTE! A tootsie roll, a puppy, a little monster, a cute bunny… AHHH! So much cuteness, I can’t take it! But there are hardly any good options for my wife to complement her cuteness. Majority of the things out there are short skirts and skin-tight dresses. We are looking to make our little one Snow White. Come on, let’s hear it… “awwww”. So my wife thought she would be the evil queen. Enter the evil queen costume hunt:

halloweenEvilQueenCostumes

 

I think the safest thing is the apple she’s holding.

Yeah there is stuff out there that is a little more conservative but enter psychological price manipulation:

halloweenCosutmePrices

Sexy is cheaper!

As our little girl gets older her options turn into shorter and tighter fitting costumes. They go from “aww what a cute little girl” to “dayummm girl”.

That’s it! My little girl is wearing knee high funky socks that don’t match and skirts that go up to these knees. I rather be weird and funky than an objectified.

SofiaVargaraAt theEmmys.

Shailee: When we got our daughter a Snow White costume, my first thought was that I’d be the Evil Queen from the movie. She is pretty cool with all that magic she can do down in her basement. So I googled “Snow White Evil Queen” to find outfits. My two options are something that is completely revealing or something that is huge and frumpy. We are planning on taking my kid around the neighborhood trick or treating. I honestly don’t want to wear something that makes me feel like I’m not even a woman anymore. We are also having super hot weather over here and wearing something that big would guarantee I come home as one big sweat stain. And I never wore costumes that sexy prior to having a baby so wearing them now isn’t even an option. Besides, I just don’t think it’s appropriate to go around the neighborhood where a bunch of kids are trick or treating wearing something that barely belongs in a club.

So I’ll turn to my third option: making the outfit myself. That’s the only way I can get something middle-of-the-road that I’d feel comfortable wearing. It’ll take some work but I’ll feel better in that than either of the options I can buy ready-made from a store. I’ve had to do this before as well. A few years ago, a few of my friends and I decided to be Batman villains and I chose Poison Ivy. I made a green dress, attached leaves to it, and had green leaves and vines drawn on my body where there was some skin showing. I was comfortable.

I’ve always appreciated the costumes that are innovative and unique more than something that just shows skin (of course, I’m not a guy so maybe I’m the wrong person to ask). One year, I saw a guy wearing the Quail Man costume. It’s still one of my favorite costumes that I have ever seen.

As long as I’ve known, Halloween has been an excuse for women to wear extremely sexy costumes (let’s be honest, most don’t buy the big, frumpy ones). Why is that? Why do we use it as an excuse to wear less than we would on a daily basis? Is it insecurity? Do we need to feel like we need to show skin in order to compete with the others dressed sexy when we go out partying for Halloween? Are the women in the sexy costumes the only people who get attention?

I want to set a good example for my daughter that you don’t have to wear a sexy Halloween costume to get attention. You can get the same attention by using your imagination and creativity.A couple of years ago, my husband made a Wall-E costume from scratch. Last year, he made us a coffee mug and donut costume. We received plenty of attention because both costumes were so unique. My hope is that she gets into Halloween every year and really has fun coming up with creative ideas. My hope is that she has enough confidence to know that she doesn’t need to show a ton of skin in order to feel good about herself.

Socially Awkward

One of my good girlfriends was surprised when I told her I was an introvert. Unless I’m comfortable with the people I’m with, I’m not too good at being super social. 

If I end up in a room with a bunch of people I don’t know, I have to force myself to be friendly. I would much rather curl up in the corner with a good book. I have a friend who can literally walk into a place and make friends with everyone there and leave knowing everyone’s life story. I really wish I could do that. 

Those people who can be friends with everyone amaze me. And I don’t mean the fake people that pretend to be friends with you. I mean the sincere people who really want to know you and create a new relationship. 

So what makes us introverted? I don’t know if it’s entirely the insecurity of the possibility that the new people you meet might not like you or if it’s just a preference. I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing at all. It’s who you are. I just have trouble accepting it for myself because I judge myself to be socially awkward when I’m not the person who knows everyone in the room. Talking to someone one on one is much easier for me. Put me in a room of a bunch of people I don’t know and I want to run the other way. 

I asked my cousin once on how she manages to go anywhere and be comfortable talking to anyone. She told me that her secret is just to ask them about themselves. I still have to learn to employ this technique. 

Being introverted is a challenge. It’s not an easy thing to overcome. One day, I hope to be comfortable enough with myself that I have an easier time being in a large crowd. I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only person who feels this way. 

How do you manage to be social in a large crowd?