Teresina: Ride for your life (2)

February 26, 2006

Teresina cameo

“Teresina Cameo” photo by Roger Bourland

I used to think that if I loved myself I would be perceived as egotistical, cocky, and arrogant. Who likes that kind of person, right? I believed that if I wasn’t hard on myself and driven, I would never be successful. If there was something I was really good at, I’d hold back, fearing that others would resent me, or even worse, not like me. Usually, nothing I did made me feel that I was as good as others. I needed to be better, do more. I was afraid that the minute I gave myself credit for doing well, God would come down and take care of that sassy attitude. God was always there to judge my failure. Of course, He wasn’t judging anyone else’s––just mine. I was different. I was special. More was expected of me. God knew I could take it.

Everything was measured and labeled like a secret competition that I knew I was never going to win, but convinced myself it kept me motivated. I also felt that if I loved myself I would be lenient and just stay the loser I thought I really was. I thought accepting myself meant tolerating my own faults, my shortcomings, and my inadequacies, and where the heck would that leave me? It left me in a place where everything had to be perfect, explained, in order, fair, and pay off.

I have to admit that it was fear that drove me, and caused a lot of pain. Striving for others’ notions of perfection, beauty, and talent left me empty––chasing dreams for all the wrong reasons.

Aren’t I pretty? Look at me, I’m not fat, I must have it together. And if you are thin, doesn’t that automatically mean you have it all together?

I yearned to be the most talented, the prettiest, the skinniest, the nicest, and the one that all the boys wanted. And only then could I like myself. Then I could enjoy myself. Once I got there I could let go and not work so hard, and be happy. Or so I thought…

In retrospect, I was too dang busy doing everything, trying to “get there,” attempting to control my way to perfection, deciding I was already not good enough, or that something was wrong with me. Sound familiar?

© 2006 Teresina Sullo

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