Recently my dad brought over a container full of old home movies of my childhood from age 7 until about 18. Growing up I was passionately involved in theater, dance, piano, voice lessons, and band concerts- and my dad filmed all of it.
My daughter received so much joy from watching these videos. Seeing her mom perform on stage in a former life in a way she never knew that I existed blew her mind a bit…in a good way.
Taking this trip down memory lane was a little different for me. I cringed as I read the title on some of these videos and memories of the performances came flooding back. There were a few plays where I had felt like I did a horrible job, feelings of awkwardness and inadequacy switched on in my brain. There were plays where I struggled to push myself out of my comfort zone, especially during particularly vulnerable times in my life.
I put them in for her to watch anyway and braced my self for my less than stellar performance. I was surprised by what I saw instead. Time and time again I did so much better then I remembered. The inadequacy that I felt at the time in no way matched up with my actual performance. The one thing I would have improved was to stand up a little straighter, put my shoulders back, and exude the confidence level that matched my performance skills.
I’m not saying this to imply that I was a stellar broadway star but any means… I’m saying this because I came to the realization that perhaps I was a bit hard on myself.
An example of this was my freshman year in high school. I was cast as one of the three “Doo Wop” girls in Little Shop of Horrors. I was a 14-year-old baby with two seniors girls trying to dance and sing my way through this show where I didn’t feel like I belong. I was shocked to receive such a large role as a freshman and felt guilty that I took it away from another upperclassman.
The summer before the play I had a huge growth spurt and started my freshmen year 5’9, 116 pounds and I just remember feeling so awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the other girls were so much better than me.
I grit my teeth and stuck the DVD in preparing for the worst. But when I came on the screen I realized I wasn’t awkward at all. My performance was equal to if not better then the other two girls that I spent so much time feeling less then. I had been given that role because I was the best fit for the part. I was a good actress and I deserved it. I just couldn’t see that at the time.
I realized all of the fear and inadequacy was in my head.
I wanted to go back and tell that sweet 14-year-old girl that she’s got this. That she is doing phenomenal, she just needs to have the confidence to own it and enjoy it all. Have fun.
I then wondered how often I still do this in my life. How often I compare myself to others and create feelings of actual nonexistent inadequacy.
My new goal is to look back on myself in 20 years and think, why were you so hard on yourself, you rocked it. You just needed to stand up a little straighter and be confident. Own who you are. Own your strengths, own your talents.
2020 as a human has been rough. 2020 as a parent has been excruciating. Parenting is hard. Parenting in a pandemic is downright painful. As I struggle with what to decide for my daughter for the next school year, I am completely overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Scared I’ll make the wrong choice for her. Fear I’ll be inadequate if I homeschool her for the year. Fear I’ll put her behind her peers. No matter what decision I make I feel like a horrible parent.
After watching those home movies I think this might be one of those video tapes that I replay in the future and say, why did you think you were doing so poorly? You were rocking that quarantine, pandemic, Covid-19 life. You loved your daughter and worked hard to make the best decisions for her.
I’m going to go with that and relax a little bit so I can try to sleep more. I’m going to put my shoulders back, stand up a little straighter and confidently recognize that I am doing better at this mom thing, this being a human thing, then I give myself credit for.
About the Author: Nikki Cox is a mommy of two striving to clear away the clutter both physical and emotional so she can live life with intention and clarity. Find her at Lovelylucidlife.com.