If confidence is lost, did you ever really have it?
Friday, April 23rd, 9:31 pm. I’m sitting on my couch, on the phone with my mom for the third time in one day.
Me: “Do you remember when I was little?”
Mom: “Of course I do.”
Me: “Tell me your favorite memory.”
Mom: “Oh here we go again.”
Me: (laughs) “Come on, tell me something funny I did as a kid!”
Mom: “I don’t know. I can’t think right now. You woke me up.”
Me: “Sorry. (pause) Do you remember when I used to put shit in your bed?”
Mom: (quietly exasperated) “What?! No.”
Me: “I cannot believe you don’t remember this. Whenever I was mad at you I’d put potpourri in your pillow case and under your sheets so it would poke you and make your bed smell.”
Mom: “I probably liked it.”
Me: “You’re crazy. Go back to bed.”
You know things are bad when you call your mom for a mood lift. There are so many things wrong with this. For starters, moms are meant to annoy. No matter how much I resent her self-help b.s., she somehow always convinces me to drink the Kool-Aid. Tell her you don’t want any and she’ll give it to you anyway.
Secondly, moms are blinded by bias. Of course she’s going to tell you you’re qualified to be an editor-in-chief at 29 even though the closest experience you have for this job comes from bossing around your stuffed animals and dolls from ages five to 11. Or 12.
Lastly, moms are bad with the tough love. When my mom tries to tell me to suck things up, I just want to put potpourri in her bed again. I demand my bottle, my bath and my bedtime story please.
So clearly my mom can never win (as her daughter, it’s my job to set her up to fail), but I still love her and this is all beside the point. The point here is that I’m so desperate for a confidence fix that I’m searching between the couch cushions for it.
How did this happen? I’m the girl who’s famous for the line “clankity clank,” which is short for “pull out your brass balls and fight for your right.” Let those mo-fos in charge know who you are.
And here I am. Stuck. In my own mud. Sure, I can blame getting laid off a year ago. I can blame my current mind-numbing job. I can blame myself and I often do. There are plenty of culprits in the lineup for confidence robbery. But at a certain point, I need to pull out of this mental quicksand and pull out my brass cojones. If there’s one thing my mom’s personal PSAs have taught me it’s think it and you’ll be it. But how can you believe in your talent without the success?
I know, pray to Buddha, right? It’s not all about the material recognition. Fuck that. Look, I’ve prayed to Buddha and Jesus, to Rolling Stone and Fleetwood Mac. I’ve paid for therapy and medication and opened myself up to love. I’ve given up security for the chance of something better. And the only thing I can tell you is that in America, success matters. It’s measurable. And I want it. But first, I need my confidence back.