I guess it started when I was a little kid, out of necessity. I was alone a lot, so I learned how to amuse myself. I didn’t need much – books and my imagination was plenty. I would build worlds in my head, stuff that I would never talk about to anyone. I didn’t need to – it wasn’t for them anyway. It was just for me. I had no desire to act any of this stuff out – I had pretty low self esteem which resulted in a significant lack of confidence. By either neglecting me or subjecting me to abuse, my parents had trained me to understand that I didn’t mean much to anybody. And when you’re a child who believes they’re not worthy of the very people who are supposed to love them, you draw the conclusion that if you’re not that important to them, no one else could possibly be interested in your bullshit. So you live in your head…
That’s where you can be whoever you want to be – there are no limits if you’re imaginative. Mind you, I was also very good at reading people, and I could be very charming and friendly. Add in the fact that I was somewhat good looking and the result was I had no shortage of friends. Male or female, pretty much everyone seemed to like me. But I didn’t like myself, hence I struggled with self esteem. I was good at hiding it from other people, but it definitely held me back.
It really wasn’t until I went to college at the age of 45 that things began to change. I started to realize that maybe I did have something to offer. I went into nursing and discovered I was excelling and started to get positive reinforcement and encouragement from my teachers. I remember thinking WTF? Fast forward 15 years and now I’m some kind of nursing leader and considered an expert in my field. How did this happen?
I still live in my head, but also in the world – and I no longer have self esteem issues. I kind of like myself, and that’s a new feeling for me.
I’m 60 years old and still learning and discovering who I am. I plan for this process to continue until I die. I am grateful for what I have, and what I’ve become.
Life is good.