The Demon Known as Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is a malicious and hideous creature that attaches itself with vice grips to your shoulder, whispering words of discouragement so softly that you are hardly aware of its existence until the very moment you begin to act.  It’s only then you discover that you are well and truly paralyzed.  The difficulty is in recognizing that the only thing stopping you from doing what you need to do is you.


Friday, May 18 to Saturday, May 19

Oh, crap.  I so don’t have this.

I was standing in my walk-in closet staring at the rows and rows of hangers containing clothes that I could no longer wear, either because the season was all wrong , they were five years out of fashion, or because the buttons would pop if I even made an attempt.  I couldn’t wear any of these things to the place travel articles proclaimed as Conde Nast’s # 2 destination spa getaway,  a  place that appeared to  advertise rates that seemed to average around a thousand dollars a night.  A place I could barely afford to step a toe into. 

“Whas dat?” Vivian asked, tugging on a handful of dresses.

“The land of denial.”

“Da-nile.” Viv repeated.

The last time I’d done any clothes shopping for myself, the two-and-a-half-year-old (who was currently eyeing my shiniest, skinniest formal dresses with a desire that does not bode well for our bank account one day) was yet to be born for another seven months.  I had to face facts.  I needed clothes.  I needed clothes so badly that I didn’t even have clothes to wear to buy new clothes.  Three years of home renovation, garden creation, and kiddie project play had left most of my clothing permanently stained, tattered, and torn.  And what I did have that looked fairly decent was fit only for fall and winter weather and years out of fashion—the plight of a teacher turned stay-at-home mom.     

“Crap,” I said.

“Cwap,” Vivian repeated.

Damn, I thought.

Shopping for clothes is my least favorite activity ever.  I will do anything, any chore possible, to get out of going.   I’ll scrub toilets, clean the kitty litter box, dust the blinds—anything to keep me from having to stare into a cruelly honest three-way mirror under harsh fluorescent lighting.  Most people I know would be thrilled to have their spouse support an occasional clothes-shopping spree.   Sometimes I wish I was most people.  Shopping for me always ended the same way—nothing for myself, something for Viv, something for Jake, something for Brian, and two somethings for the house. 

The message Claire Cook had sent Cheryl said people walk around in yoga pants or their robes at the spa.  I shouldn’t even really need clothes.  But I needed a bathing suit…and a dress…and clothes for the plane trip…and…and…and….

Damn, I thought again.  

I took a deep breath, and picked up the phone and dialed. 

“Hi, Mom.  You want to go shopping tomorrow?”

And so we did.  That Saturday she and I shopped and shopped, and I came home with clothes for myself…and Brian, too.  So progress can be slow sometimes.  But it was progress.  And I had capris and shirts to wear.   I felt good about this for about three hours until that self-doubting little demon crawled back onto my shoulder and began its incessant whispering. 

Your hair is stringy and going gray.  You’re too pale.  You think you’re going to get a pedicure?  Ha.  Calluses happen when you spend all day without shoes on your feet.  You still need a bathing suit.  You still need a dress.

I pulled open the bathroom linen closet, found the shoebox filled with make-up and bath gels and searched for the pumice stone that I was sure was in there.  When I found it, I filled the tub a foot full with the hottest water I could stand, and then I commenced scrubbing.  Maybe if I scrubbed hard enough, I could make the nagging voice in my head go away for a few more hours.  After all, I’d managed to buy myself clothes.  I’d braved the racks of clothes and dressing rooms.  What were a few calluses?  Right. 



The above is part of my account of the fairy-tale that I was lucky enough to have my friend share with me no less than a week ago.  If you read and have no idea what the heck I’m talking about and have the desire to find out, you can start at the beginning with the first two posts:

Tuna Cavatappi Be Damned (6/6/12) 

Unintentionally Apt (6/7/12)

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying writing about it.

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