There are times when you have to step back and look at yourself: your self-image, your mental abilities, your confidence.
In the world of selfies, where people post images with captions, “I look like hell,” but post them anyway, it makes you take a closer look at self-evaluation. If you really thought you looked like crap, you wouldn’t post them. Obviously the poster likes the way they look, and then I wonder if they have a higher opinion of themselves than they should.
Wow, Erica! What a horrible thing to say!!!
Bear with me, here. I’ll get to my point shortly.
Anyone who has paid attention to my postings in the past month or so, knows I’m rewriting my Mistress & Master of Restraint Series- FROM SCRATCH. What a humbling, crippling experience. So I will explain my self-evaluation and a false sense of confidence comment.
Erica has taken a step back and did some major self-evaluation these past few months. In the now, you feel great about yourself: I look good. I feel good. I’m smart. This book is fabulous. Right? Isn’t that how you feel when you look into the mirror of yourself?
A few years ago, I was a bigger girl, and I felt confident about myself. I thought I looked good. (Now, don’t go tar and feathering me, as if I’m saying my size was a reflection of me as a human being. That is NOT where I’m headed with this blog post. I’m long-winded, I’ll get to the point eventually.) Anyway, I was a size 18/20 and quickly gaining ground on the next size up. At the time, I was working on changing my life, all aspects. So I lost weight, dropping down to a 10/12. Yay for me, right? Not really. Because there is fallout from that as well. You start to feel shitty about who you used to be because you still feel like shit now. When I look at pictures of myself- new pictures- I think I look bad. So then I start to question my own sanity. I thought I looked good in images from several years ago, several sizes larger, yet now I feel like crap when I look at myself. Was I thinking clearly back then, then?
My entire life I’ve thought myself as intelligent: quick to learn knowledge that I easily retained. Smarty pants. Know-it-all. With the mistakes I’ve made in the past, where I objectively look at my actions and reactions to the stimulation around me, at the time I felt I was making the proper decisions. Now I think I was a flippin’ idiot.
A stupid, stupid girl.
With the M&M rewrite has came a LOT of fallout, especially to my confidence in all things. In order to grow in my craft and as a person, I had to admit defeat. I had to recognize my faults. I had to take the bitter consequences of my actions. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “You suck. You f*cking suck, Erica!” Then, and only then, could I move on.
This new humbled, self-effacing person is now indecisive- demoralized. With my confidence destroyed, laying amongst the deleted words of my manuscripts, my world view has shifted.
The Erica from the past thought herself smart, average looking, and confident in her abilities to do her job. The Erica from the present disputes those claims as she cleans up the messes from the past Erica. The Erica from the future is shaking her head, clearly disappointed, and she’s shouting, “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t make me redo your work because you’re an idiot. Don’t make me stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I suck. I f*ckin’ suck!’ Don’t make me clean up your messes because you had a bloated self-image!”
Yes, future Erica is a bit pessimistic and bitter, while past Erica was naive, and present Erica is just… resolved.
Where does this leave me, present Erica?
Rolling along, doubting myself, because the past predicts the future. The Restraint I’m writing today (from scratch) will be a Restraint I’m proud of today. But I fear that future Erica will be embarrassed by it, and will want to go back in time and kick my behind. Just as present Erica longs to do to past Erica.
As I go back to Restraint, where I’ve deleted 3 out of every 4 words and replaced them with new, I know I can only do what I am capable of as of today. Tomorrow I may be better. But when it’s all said and done, Restraint will be a reflection of who I am today, and future Erica will have a different reflection of herself within a new book. But for the past Erica’s honor and reputation, present Erica and future Erica have joined forces, refusing to allow their naive, younger self to be demoralized and humiliated.
I’m sure I will doubt myself next week, next year, a lifetime from now. But that shows the ability to recognize my faults and grow. If I truly had a bloated self-image, I’d destroy myself with my narrow view. The only thing I have in common with future Erica, at this time, is the fact that my world view is 360 degrees.