My Low Self-Esteem

So much of what we look like is tied to our self esteem and how we feel about ourselves. Think about it, if you are feeling ugly when you look in the mirror, you are probably feeling bad on the inside; and if you are feeling bad on the inside, chances are you feel ugly on the outside.

I know that I have been in that very frame of mind many times, if not most of my life.

As a 3-year-old child my face was mangled in a horrible freak accident. I had been running in the house and carelessly dove face first into a large glass water cooler bottle. My face was split open and was mangled; I received more than a few dozen stitches on my tiny face and my nose was reconstructed through a couple of surgeries, the last one around age 7. Though I don’t remember anything about what the accident did to me mentally during those years, I do remember what it was like growing up and being asked constantly “What happened to your face?”  I was questioned, over and over, by strangers about what had happened. I received a lot of attention, on a daily basis. People looked at me, talked to me and wanted to know. I hated it.

As my scars healed over the years and became less visible, people stopped looking. They stopped asking. I didn’t realize that after receiving so much attention for so many years that once it stopped I would begin to feel even uglier than I had felt growing up. I hated that attention when I was receiving it, but once it was gone, I hated the lack of attention even more.

I began to change my appearance almost constantly. From the age of 13 I was obsessed with changing my appearance and self; I piled on make up, constantly fussed with my hair. As I aged, every thing about me was in a constant state of change. My hair cuts and color, my clothing, my personalities and even groups of friends changed. The only thing that never really changed was my unrealized need for attention, my endless search for validation and the hatred I felt for my face. It was only in the past few years that I realized how that horrible incident had really deeply effected me.

I was in my late 20’s when I first began to understand. I slowly became obsessed with wondering what I would look like if the accident never occurred. What would my nose really look like? Would my face be symmetrical like my daughters? Would I have been as beautiful as she is? I would look in the mirror and fantasize about how different my life would have been had that never happened.  It took me about 6 years to directly link the accident to my lack of self-esteem, constant need for change, and my endless desire for attention and validation.

While I am still working on accepting that I can’t change the past or will ever know what my life would have been like if the accident never occurred, I am glad to link most of my internal conflicts to something solid and specific. It’s a closure of sorts. And while it may have taken me 29 years to understand these things about myself, I am glad to finally understand and know what has been so wrong with me. Today I am thankful that the accident wasn’t worse. I am not blind, as the doctors had originally feared, I am not a vegetable and I am alive. It could have been so much worse. While I may not be happy about any of it ever occurring, it really could have ended up being so much worse.

Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Can you link it to a specific event in your own life?

I Got This! No, I Don’t. Wait… Yes, I Do?

Yesterday was a wonderful day for me, from the moment I woke up until I fell hard asleep, I was full of optimism about the direction I had chosen to direct my attention to. With the new found mission to find happiness in myself and build up my self-esteem I was confident about life and honestly felt on top of the world.

Yesterday was a happy day.

Today… Not so much.

My alarm didn’t go off this morning and with the kids having winter break last week I had gotten used to sleeping in and didn’t wake up until 2 hours from the time my alarm was set for. This of course meant that Natalie had missed her bus and I would need to drive her to school. Normally I would get frantic and screamy but this morning I wasn’t.

“No worries,” I told myself.

I reprogrammed my alarm so that I wouldn’t have the same problem again tomorrow, cheerfully woke up my sleeping beauty, got dressed, made my coffee and drove her off to school.

No yelling, no cursing, no bad self-talk. I was in control and feeling positive.

Once I returned home I was feeling capable and decided to take care of a few important things that I had been avoiding doing for quite some time.

First up, check my bank account balance, normally knowing how much money you have is a good thing.

With in moments of logging into my bank account it was discovered that my loan payment that was to be automatically deducted from the account last week was deducted correctly… but then credited back. This is the second time I’ve had an issue like this so while I didn’t really get too upset, I do admit that I was a wee bit annoyed.

I immediately called the bank but because of the holiday no one was able to help me. I have to call them tomorrow. Grrr.

“That’s okay,” I assured myself, “just move on to the next task.”

Grrr. Another closed office. Okay, well try the doctors office… Yup they were closed, too.

My Ears were starting to ring but I was dedicated to not go down that road.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Ahh.

Move on to the next phone call.

Grrr. Really?

Self talk: I should have known that no one would be available. Now, I’ll just have to do this all tomorrow. Don’t get mad, you aren’t dumb.

About an hour later Isaac is out of bed (he has an extended “vacation” because of a suspension for playing superhero and beating another boy up in school) and already cursing because he hurt himself.

Yup, cursing.

Side note: I could write a whole blog about how boys should not behave based on everything he does within the span of an hour, instead though, read on for a few examples.

Any-who, I am doing my breathing, calmly telling him in a quiet voice “Stop cursing.” One. Million. Times.

One. Million. Times. I hear “F&*K!”

Things really begin to escalate when he somehow comes to the conclusion that because he is in pain he is now entitled to do whatever he wants.

Which includes cursing me out to my face, behind my back, and behind doors.

I can feel that I am losing my cool and getting louder with my demands that he stop cursing.

Breathing exercises again.

I distract myself by making him lunch but become furious as I am barked at to get him water.

I yell.

He stomps over to the computer (which he has been banned from using because of the suspension) and refuses to get off. That’s fine, I decided that after me repeating 30 times “get away from the computer” (without screaming at the top of my lungs, despite the ringing in my ears, scary heart pounding and boiling hot blood, thank-you-very-much) that I was taking his cell phone and Ipod.

I (relatively) calmly told him that he would get his things back after he gets away from the computer and apologizes for treating me so terribly.

Naturally, this would cause any normal person to punch a hole in the wall… So that’s exactly what he did.

I FLIPPED. I started screaming, yelling, and throwing his things. I broke his headphones. Not cool, it completely reinforced his actions but I didn’t even think, I just responded.

I found myself in this awful place, it was as if I was looking at myself screaming at the little brat but I recognized it and took a huge step back. I breathed and shut my mouth.

I picked up the phone to distract myself and called Huz. This did not help at all. I was suddenly screaming again.

I had lost control of the situation, regained it and then re-lost it along with my self-esteem from the day before.

Now, I know this may all sound horrible to you. I mean, it is terrible and this is not normal. I know that. Hence, the three days of therapy that we attend each week.

So after I hung up the phone I walked around the house. Breathing, not speaking. Breathing. I grabbed the keys, told Isaac to get his shoes and coat and we went for a ride.

I didn’t yell.

He didn’t yell.

In fact, for 10 minutes, we didn’t make a sound.

Then we talked.

Calmly.

He apologized, on his own, from his heart.

I accepted his apology and returned one. He accepted mine.

Were this a year ago, and Huz was here, we’d all be fighting like maniacs (worse than mentioned above) for days.

While you may take this as insanity, I see it as progress.

And no, no 12 year out should call his mother a b-word and tell her to f-off, and no, it is not acceptable, but I take responsibility for the level my anger climaxed to.

I was already frustrated, I woke up late, had a ton of failure trying to get things done and may have not been as attentive to him as I should have been because of this.

What could I have done differently to avoid this entirely?

I’m not sure. Maybe nothing, maybe something.

What I do know is that I am not going to beat myself up over it, as I would have, were it a year ago.

I have let it go and it made me feel good to do so. But not without nagging questions in my mind.

  • How do I get back to that happy feeling I had yesterday?
  • Was that feeling even real?
  • Is that happy feeling the cause of my frustrations? Did I have such a fear of losing that I became so anxious, I ultimately created the frustration for myself?
  • Is it crazy that, although I am not feeling happy, I do feel oddly confident for regaining control over my anger after a relatively short amount of time?

How would you have handled such a chain of events? Would the waking up late, and/or non-success with the phone calls have frustrated you? Or would you just have accepted that those things are just a part of everyday life? How would you have responsibly handled such an out of control and troubled child?

A Fond Farewell to My List of 365 Resolutions

I probably should have posted this yesterday but I was very busy reflecting on 2011 and despite it being the worst year of my life, on the last day of the year, I came to the conclusion that I feel really good about everything I have accomplished. No, I didn’t cross off all of my resolutions but I did get pretty. dang. far.

In fact, I got through more than half of 365 Resolutions I set out to do!

Am I disappointed that I didn’t cross them all off? Hell no! I am superproud of what I have done. With that being said, I am crossing off one final resolution from the list:

Be Proud of an Accomplishment

And with that, I am putting the list to rest. Peace!

I’ve decided not to create a new list, mainly because I think I jinxed myself (yes, I really think that) and also because I think it has fully served it’s purpose. I blogged for a year, I dedicated myself and made it through my first full year of being a writer.  The list honestly got me through many of the worst days of my life by giving me something to focus on instead of caving into the pain, heartache, confusion and fear I’d been consumed with for the better part of the year. But I feel it is time to evolve and leave the past where it belongs.

Of course, I can’t abandon resolutions entirely so I thought long and hard about what would benefit me the most in 2012. This year I have only one resolution, one that I will focus on with all of my heart and soul. I am putting my faith in myself and hope to help as many people in the blog world as I possibly can.

My Resolution for 2012 is to build my self-esteem to the fullest.

Yup, you heard me right! I want to love myself and appreciate my worth. Is there is anyone in the world who doesn’t want that for themselves?

I’ll still be cooking, baking, project messing up creating, working on improving my physical and mental health and writing about life in suburbia. I just really hope to truly discover myself, realize and revel in my strengths, and work hard to repair my weaknesses this year through writing. I am determined to find the love I have searched so long for, but instead of looking to outside sources I am going to look inside of myself.

I hope you will read along during my pursuit of happiness and not only learn a thing or two about self-appreciation and self-love but also share with me and our fellow blogging friends your own personal experiences. I’d love to have guest bloggers this year, so don’t be surprised when you receive an email from me requesting some advice. I have some of the kindest, wonderfully talented and lovely readers in the blogosphere and I know that I wouldn’t feel as strong as I do today if it weren’t for all of you; I want to give that back to anyone who can use it and I hope somehow this small little blog will be able to serve that purpose.

Now wrap your arms around yourselves, give a great big hug and say I love you; I just did, and it felt great!

Happy New Year and thank you all so very much for being a part of my life!

Cheers!