1000 WORDS ON…MY SELF-ESTEEM
messy, irritable, depressed, fragile, worrying, emotionally sensitive, does not like to lead, phobic, weird, suspicious, low self control, paranoid, frequently second guesses self, dependent, unproductive, introverted, weak, strange, unassertive, submissive, familiar with the dark side of life, feels invisible, rash, vain, anti-authority, heart over mind, low self concept, disorganized, not good at saving money, avoidant, daydreamer, unadventurous
I just did one of those online personality tests and what you see above are the results. Apparently that collection of “under-latives” is me in a cyber-nutshell, and I answered the questions as honestly as I possibly could.
This chapter was originally entitled “1000 Words On … My Being a Textaholic”, and it was composed exactly one year ago today. It was meant to be about a phase when I had been both fired from a job for a second time AND seen a second long term relationship come to an end. Those days, my only source of positive reinforcement was hearing my views on current affairs being read out loud on what was then a fledgling talk-radio station eager for new listeners.
To be honest, the 84 words in the above paragraph do most of the work in describing that particular period of my life, and so out of all the fifty chapters in my autobiography, I reckon this one was most deserving of a re-write.
One passage from the original version, however, points me in the direction of what I really want to talk about in this essay.
“Hearing my views being expressed over the airwaves was like a morphine drip for my wounded self esteem. My opinions seemed to matter. I was not a loser after all.”
I was very close to copping out entirely of publishing this chapter on my blog, but after much soul searching I realize that doing so would achieve little. That left me with two options; publishing the original text regardless, or doing it over with a much broader scope.
Now having chosen the latter I’ve managed to use up a third of my allotted words before I get to a paragraph that even mentions the subject of how I actually feel about myself. Well, it isn’t easy to talk about so give me a chance, ok?
The other night I had a remarkably vivid dream. This rarely happens to me. Normally my sleep patterns go in such a way that I seem to be opening my eyes right after I close them the night before.
This dream was different. I was myself, but my life was altered. I had a job, I lived in a nice house which I owned. It’s funny how sometimes you not only remember what happened in a dream or who was in it, you also remember your life scenario at the time. Well for this vision, my life was pretty settled.
It was an average day. Suddenly in through the front door walks a grotesque, twisted, naked man. He looked like something from a horror movie. He did not appear to even have a face, he was kind of like a hideous entity more than a recognizable person.
So this “thing” strolls through the hallway and heads to the top of the stairs, and he proceeds on up towards the attic. Apparently, another feature of my “life scenario” in this dream is that I know he lives up there and I have done nothing about it all this time even though it is my house.
This time, however, I said to him, “No, you have to go.”
The thing objected, he raised his voice, not really saying any actual words, just vocalizing his dissent. Despite this, he started walking slowly back from whence he came, and out of the house. Once I shut the door behind him, I could suddenly see my fiancee standing before me and she said, “Finally! I thought you’d never get rid of him!”
My words astounded me. Much like my confidence when I first kissed a girl, much like my confidence when I held my first child, much like my confidence when I passed my driving test, I was somehow able to find the resolve to do what needed to be done with little effort.
I then woke up, still full of pride for being able to evict this demon from my property so easily. As I slowly drifted back towards reality, I started to look for answers from the dream. Who or what was that thing? Where did the confidence come from?
There have been volumes written on dream interpretation. Personally, I rank every one of them right alongside horoscopes, tarot cards, palm-reading and even online personality tests. The symbolism is presented to you, and you take from it exactly what you want to.
After brief consideration, I decided the entity represented all about myself which I hate. I took the fact that I was able to expel him so readily from my life as a sign that somewhere buried within the dark recesses of my soul I have the capability to rise above it.
I don’t think I was “born again” or anything like that, by the way. It’s just that the dream was real, it’s still fresh in my mind, and re-doing this chapter gives me a chance to at least try and come to terms with it.
Also, I have to assume the banishing was purely symbolic within the dream. I think what I achieved with the whole process was an acknowledgement that my low self esteem was not only present, but it was manageable, and what’s more important, it’s not unusual.
I guess such doubt is there in all of us from the moment we become self aware – we only differ in how we identify, express and control it.
For me, wisdom is not about how much you know, it’s an awareness of how much you don’t know. Last Sunday morning, I think I got wiser on the subject of my self, and I feel much better for it.
© JL Pagano 2005
NEXT, #46 – 1000 WORDS ON…MY DRIVING TEST