Sunday, 6 December 2009

whether you think can or think you can't, you are right

Oh Mr Ford no truer word has ever been uttered.

A little foreword and warning this is slightly long!

When I started this little adventure I did not really think anyone would take the time to read about my daily quandaries and foibles.  Indeed I wanted to write for myself and let this be almost a diary of my life now to read in the future.  Remarkably, I appear to have a wonderful little following whom I cherish with all my little heart and I honestly welcome your words of wisdom each and every day.  Whilst there will be words of weddings there will be no prettiness so I understand if you do not want to read these next few words. But please know your thoughts are always appreciated.

Yet, the person I think I portray is not quite the person I am in real life.  (For the beginning of my thoughts ramblings on anonymity see here.)  I fear it is now time to reveal that little bit more about me.  Hmm, maybe it is not that I feel the need to reveal it to you but I have the need to be honest to myself.  Yes, I think this is the opportunity to be honest with myself to allow myself to move forward.  (Sometimes I do wish I could put fingers to keyboard and pour out my heart knowing no-one would reads my words but without publishing them it is almost as if they do not exist?)

So I suffer from oft crippling low self esteem.  Speaking with school friends with whom I am still close reveals I have always suffered from illusions of non-grandeur.  I have thought long and hard to discover why I became this way to no avail.  I grew up in a normal family, in a normal town and went to a normal school.  Life was not hard nor easy.  Simply normal, there are no obvious triggers except a slightly overly enthusiastic mother and father who loved to use reverse psychology.  (The next paragraph does seem a little self congratulatory I promise it does help to illustrate my point.)

Yet, I have fulfilled at least some ambitions.  I was told at school I would not even be asked to an interview at medical school. However, I was asked to all 4 interviews and gained a place at each of the four universities.  I simply did not think I would make it through the evil 6 year course yet I did and I gained distinctions, prizes (one national prize no less) and 1st for my BSc degree. Yet my head and heart tell me this was all fluke and that I am simply not good enough to be a doctor.  I now work, hard, enjoy "helping people" and I am an able diagnostician  (albeit not necessarily the most dexterous but I hope my diy crafting skills will aid this).   My seniors do remark my knowledge is above par in comparison to my colleagues and our continued assessment as juniors reinforces this fact.  Arrogance is dangerous in a doctor but occasionally indecision can be just as damaging.  However I understand one day I will make a mistake, it is inevitable if one practises for a lifetime, and I must realise that perfectionism and medicine are just not compatible.

In regards to my personal life, I find it hard to make friends, or what I consider friends (see here for my thoughts on this little subject).  I do need my alone time but yearn for true friendship (maybe that is my problem?).  I love to be there for people but I am not sure I have ever really helped anyone.  I fear this is because of my "talent" for sarcasm and the consequent assumption I am unable to sympathise with feeling.  Indeed a great fear is that no-one will want to join us at our wedding.  Even though I know I am only inviting people I see as my nearest and dearest but do they see me in the same way?  I fear not.

Obviously, I never thought I would be loved by anyone for I am ugly and without charm, indeed I still find it incredulous that Bean loves me for he is such a diamond. (Admittedly he was a bit of a diamond in the rough when we first met - but what man looks good in his first year at university - he is still a boy!)  He refers to me as his little inflatable penguin who needs a little pump every now and then (that does sound rather blue!).  It warms my heart that he truly understands me enough to know when to pry, when to leave me alone and when I need a little inflation.  To me that is true love.

I know that it is natural to feel this from time to time but this negativity pervades my thoughts, almost all day, everyday. I am perfectly accomplished in pretending such thoughts do not enter my mind to most (if not all) outsiders but that little voice inside is always niggling away.  Indeed most have no idea that I have such a defeatist attitude as I use my constant sarcasm/cynicism/cunning to misdirect them.  

However, I see others online in similar or worse positions than I and they deal with their troubles with such grace and humour.  How do you do this?  I honestly would love to hear about your struggles and triumphs (by email if a public forum is intimidating).  I think I needed to allow this to be published for all to see.  In the hope that others understand my plight and are maybe able to help me through my self inflicted darkness.

Finally, I do understand that my troubles are nothing when compared to others around the world but I know, deep deep down, I could be a highly functioning asset to my community, in every sense of the word.  In reality, I just want to help people but in order to do this I need to help myself first.

Tomorrow, I may reveal just that little bit more.  Something which I know is vitally important to allow my to move on.  I hope to hear from you before then as I am slightly, nay exceptionally, nervous about my next post.  Indeed I may only publish the words for a few days.  Intrigued, you are?

Thank you for your time and making me feel comfortable enough to speak freely about such intimate thoughts.  I really appreciate your time, words and honesty.


  1. Anna, thank you and well done for being so honest and so brave. I think it's certainly natural to feel the way you do - in fact I do, too. I was really worried that we didn't have enough friends to get married, which on hindsight seems absolutely ridiculous, and really worried that none of them would come and we'd look like sad loners at our own wedding! Both of us are the kind of people that take a while to make friends - both of us had experiences as teenagers that have left us cautious of other people, though that said, some of our closest friends we just clicked with straight away as kindred spirits, I suppose (as Anne Shirley would say!).

    When it came to our wedding, every single one of our friends came. Every single one had a great time, and it really reaffirmed just how lucky we are to be loved and love those people.

    I do often feel insecure about the amount of friends we have, which is because a lot of the people I work with seem to have these huge friendship groups. Whereas a lot of our friends are from different moments in our lives, so we tend to see other couples and socialise in small groups of say just five of us, rather than larger groups. It's taken me a long time to realise that this doesn't make our friendships invalid, or less meaningful, but that friendship works in different ways for different people.

    Sorry, I just seem to have rambled on aimlessly. I just wanted to show my support really!

  2. Love, we all suffer from insecurity. I have taken to pretending till true. Remember, if you dont know the truth. . . just bullshit. In time I learn to love myself because unfortunately there is no one, two step to self-confidence.

    I do suffer from depression and that is my constant and daily battle. And journaling/ blogging helps, and family and people helps. Shoestring Boy is a blessing. God, someone bigger than you. Like you I have good days and bad days and happy to report now more good than bad. One day at a time.

    As someone who use to have a TON of friends. I mean really, people use to book me two weeks in advance for a dinner appointment and I am not bragging. And see them slowly go away as I don't know, life, my depression, outgrowing friendships take them. The ones who stayed really are all I need. Having tons tons of friends is over rated. Really. At the end of the day I can only hope for a person to love me, be there for me, to not judge, and love them back. Quality. Not quantity. It took me years to learn this.

  3. Oh Anna,

    You have buckets of charm my dear - that is why people read this little blog of yours. And ugly? With a heart like yours, I can't see how that could possibly be true.

    I wanted to stay anonymous at the start of my blog. But now I'm out there with my face on the web, and yes I do censor myself just a little more than I used to. I worry that people who know me in real life may find the blog, and read it and be unhappy with things I have said.

    But all the bloggers whom I am "blog friends" with now make it all worthwhile (I count you as one of those).

    I'm sorry you are feeling bad about yourself. You really shouldn't.

    It's not the amount of friends you have, but the quality of those friendships. I'd rather have one amazing friend that really knows me, than fifty who just hang around, but then aren't there when I really need them.

    It sounds like you have that person in Bean, so any other friends would be just a bonus.

    I am intrigued as to what more you will share with us all.

    Love reading your blog. Sending nice thoughts from Australia to you.

    Miss T x

  4. I completely agree with Miss's not about quantity. I see a lot of my best friends in high school all now still hang out in a large group together (20 years later). I do not participate in that group even though I am still local to them. I just feel I have moved on and life is different now. I have had times of many friends and social activities and times of quiet solemn and just working and getting through the 'responsibilities' of life. I completely understand the insecurities. It sounds as though you have a heart to serve and help others...that, to me, is one of the best qualities a person can have...not a ton of friends or an active social calendar, but a life of purpose and a heart of compassion. You have found the love of your life, have succeeded in your schooling and career, and speak to strangers through this blog. Your life is well lived and loved. Have faith and do not let the enemy try to deceive you into thinking that you have anything to feel depressed about. Feel free to speak honestly and know that you speak to others who can relate. For no one is truly alone :)

  5. will respond more fully in my lunch hour but I'm here, I'm listening/reading. And you are not alone (not in some stalker in the wardrobe not alone) but in that I often have the same feelings. Anyway I'll be back later, keep going girl......

  6. Anna, thanks so much for sharing. It isn't easy to truly open up in the blog world. I also seem to think we get more cynical as we grow older. But it looks like you've led an amazing life so far. We all have those down periods in life. I do appreciate the spirit of the holidays and being thankful for what do have (as opposed to don't have). This will be a tough season for us and a tough year esp. for me. I just have to hope that things will be better though.

    You seem to be such an intelligent and sweet girl. I'd love to be your friend IRL. :) I'm sure your true friends feel the same and would be aghast that you even consider that you are not as significant to them as they are to you.


  7. Wow, you’ve opened a can of worms in my head – in a good way as the child of a psychologist self analysis has been a constant. My neuroses lie in worthlessness, why would my friends want to be friends with me? Why would O want to spend the rest of his life with me, I look at him and then look at me and think one day he will come to his senses and realise that I’m no where near as gorgeous/kind/funny as he is. For me it is quite easy to trace the pattern of dark days, the women in my family have all had our funny turns, when the darkness takes over and the world looks bleak. O has noticed the darkness too, and there are occasions when he has asked if I’m ok, when it doesn’t mean are you ok? It means look deep into my eyes, my heart, and my soul and tell me if you are really ok, should I be worried, should I call in for reinforcements? He on the other hand whilst being very shy has absolutely no self-confidence issues at all, he is righteous to his very core – sometimes this helps as it gives me the grit and determination to fight my corner other times it irritates the hell out of me.

    I have two groups of very close friends and while O has more friends than I do our guest list will still be small. I’m not worried about them not turning up. I’m worried about being the centre of attention. I hate being the centre of attention, it makes me sweaty and nervous and I become very dry and sarcastic often to the point of offence without meaning it. Do I have to be the bride on my wedding day – is there not a smaller part I can play in this daft charade?
    I wish I could help more than to say I feel that way too. I don’t have a magic cure and I wish I did. But I think it helps to get the feelings out of your head (I should really practice what I preach) and if that is through your blog then I wholeheartedly applaud your bravery and honesty and I’m signing up for the journey.

  8. I understand completely! I am the same way. I never feel like I deserve anything and I didn't until Jonathon left on my Christmas card one year... "you deserve all that the world has to offer" and I was like... really? And so it clicked.


    and yes... 400!! But now it's a trim 75.

  9. Anna, have you heard of "imposter syndrome?" It's a weird psychological trick that the minds of many successful people (and, especially, successful women) play on them. To someone with imposter syndrome, no matter how many accolades, how much praise, how many friendships, there remains a sense that you are a fraud and that no one really likes you and that if they just looked a bit closer at you and your work they would see how terrible you are and take it all away.

    I could have written your post. I am not a doctor, but otherwise our stories are so similar -- I have won awards, and done very well in school, and yet I feel certain that I don't deserve to be successful. I worry that my friends are just incredibly nice people who tolerate my hideous presence so they don't hurt my feelings. I am occasionally baffled that Econo Man agreed to marry me when he clearly could have found a nice sane woman.

    I have nothing terribly helpful to say -- I struggle with this more than I'd like to admit. But it helped to find out that "imposter syndrome" is common enough to be given a name, and common enough that our graduate school invited an expert in this phenomenon to give a lecture and a workshop on overcoming it. We're definitely not alone in these sorts of feelings.

  10. Blogging is an alternative universe, but it doesn't mean that you aren't your true self online. I'm a fairly new reader to your blog, but I really enjoy your thoughts, feelings, reaction, and I assume they are all honest reflections of yourself. I know that real life is tough (making friends, working towards your ambitions, etc.) and self doubt is very, very natural. But hopefully you'll be able to realize through this blog that your thoughts are valued by a whole host of people who relate to you, which could give you the confidence you deserve.

    Honestly, I understand the desire to blog anonymously. I'm semi anonymous. I have friends who read the blog and know who I am, but most people that find it on their own don't know me. I just want to separate my personal and professional lives — not that I care if a professional contact found out it was me, but that I don't want them to think my entire life is consumed with wedding planning. And honestly, I've written things in the heat of the moment, both happy and unhappy, that I've come to slightly regret. Those posts get edited.

    I think your writing is brave and I can't wait to hear more of your reflections. Keep it up!

  11. Nothing new to add, but well done you :) Revealing can be tough - know that we all love you and can't wait to read on...

  12. Hey Darlin, chiming in a bit late here but only just got back from the desert with no computer.

    Sounds like you are being incredibly hard on yourself. From what I gather you are incredibly charming, obviously smart and extremely loveable human being. Ugly is an ugly word and I highly doubt that anybody else would describe you in such a way.
    I think you MUST learn to silence those negative voices- the ones that tell you are an unlikeable fraud.. the ones that prevent you from basking in your well deserved successes and enjoying the happiness which is rightfully yours. The ones that forget your triumphs but replay your 'failures' over and over again.
    Its easier said that done I know.. very hard to fight an enemy when it has outposts in your head :)
    But its so important for a full and happy life.. but good on you for acknowledging this is a problem- often the the hardest part.

  13. i think this must have taken alot of "guts" for you to write that post. i am teary eyed reading it.

    all my best in getting over your insecurities and moving on to helping those others you are obviously, qualified to heal.


  14. Oh Anna, brave girl. I can promise you that you are worthy of everything good in the world. Thank you for sharing this. I wish I lived on your side of the pond, so I could come over for some tea and a chat. More later.


  15. Great post. Its good if you feel like sharing this.
    Also already read the depression post, and all i have to say is
    it sounds like you are on the best way to deal with it and maybe even
    let it go. You are such a smart girl with a good heart and you will
    learn to believe in yourself and feeling better.
    sending you a lot of superpower to feel strong and keep on bloggin, gal! xo


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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