The entire day today, I've been wondering about one thing - when did I stop trusting my own validation of myself, and when did I start looking for it outside? Was it because I was always a fat child, a fat girl, and I always felt inferior to my other friends, who were all (and still are!) strikingly shapely and beautiful as far back as I can remember? Was it the fact that this one thing made me feel so small about myself, I started depending upon the kind words spoken by others, appreciating my naturally sharp features and pretty face? Did I start looking for that compensation everywhere, fishing for those few words, to quench my thirst for appreciation that usually fell in the laps of my more dainty friends? Perhaps. And funnily enough, now I feel no sense of shame or embarrassment in admitting to it on a public forum. It's definitely not the easiest thing to say, but it doesn't really matter to me anymore. Because I'm not insecure anymore about what I am or how I look. And I'm equally unashamed to admit to the fact that it has as much to do with the fact that I understand myself more, as the fact that I understand those very people a lot better today. And they aren't as perfect or beyond reproach as my naive mind once felt they were.
And yet, I regret that small loss of control and independence over my confidence even now, more than I regret feeling inferior or superior or whatever. Because it sort of travelled to other aspects of my personality. I started looking for validation and ratification from others. I always had a knack for words, and that ability came from the fact that I felt everything I wrote, and I wrote only what I felt. But then, besides a few cases here and there, those words became jargon. They sounded good, damn they sounded good! They sounded so good in my head and while I said them, that I loved the idea of believing them. They made me sound ambitious, smart, intelligent, intellectual, and very very corporate. Ambitious I'd always been. But now, it was more like commercial ambition. And this path seemed easier than the one I'd originally thought for myself anyway, because there, I'd have had to write my own course of action. Here, the path was well written and everyone was walking it! And where I was skeptical, I looked for guidance towards others.. Who well meaning as they were, could never be me, and hence could never give me the advice that I was subconsciously craving or truly in the need of. They were risk averse and always believed in playing safe, which worked brilliantly for them. And so, without questioning much, I once again looked for the path, the route outside, and then endeavored to walk it. And because it didn't really mean much to me, I looked for approval from outside for my small victories and feared the disapproval and disappointment that accompanied my failures. I judged myself, and allowed people to judge me. To the extent that I couldn't hear what my own mind was saying anymore..
And it took me ages to realize how horribly caught up i had become in this vicious circle of my own making. And how important it is for me to get out of it! The personality complexes, the constant inward comparisons, questioning the intentions of the most normal things, doubting support that came my way, and worst of all, looking at smallest of achievements as if I'd conquered the whole world and self proclaiming myself as a cut above the rest.. Conflicting personality traits, bursts of anger, extreme mood swings, constant self pity.. You name it and i was feeling it. And justifying it all in my head. All for what? To convince myself that the decisions I'd taken over all these years were actually not all that bad...
It took a lot of patience on my end as well as those who were closest to me (unaware as they are of the reasons for my erratic behaviour), and a lot of undoing of all that negativity in my head to get to this point now when I can so objectively talk about it, write about it. I'm still a work in progress and it will still take me a long time to reach those levels of confidence that I had when I was a mere 16 year old.. But I am trying, a little too slowly perhaps, but I am..
I have been in transit all this time, between office and home. And somehow this constant movement of the cab has proven to be more settling for my thoughts than a stagnant sit down approach would have been. I basically wanted to pen this all down somewhere before I took any steps towards a new beginning, where I am going to try and push my own boundaries for the first time, and allow myself to experiment with things I feel I might be decent at. So there!