Thursday, January 27, 2011


A keen whisper pierces the flannel sheet swathing my back. It surprises me in the shower; my intentions* and shampoo suds fall to the floor. It nips at my heels while I pace the muddy stretch from driveway to creek. It haunts the margins of my resume, the unfilled minutes in my car.

You’re not enough.

What makes you think you deserve this?

Don’t hope for it, you’ll just get disappointed. That’s what always happens, right?

I check this unwritten “to-do” from my list; I humor the nagging houseguest.

Doubt is a sinking sandpit; so often we dance at its edge. Out of fear that we’ll go under, we set up camp and make ourselves comfy, impervious, tame. We fortify our current station to avoid potential danger in the unknown.

Doubt is a perfectionist’s curse, too; it’s for the good girl, painfully conscious of looking haughty or too confident, so afraid to offend. I deserve this sounds entitled, snobbish. The words feel wrong in my mouth as a square of tin foil. We’re not supposed to look like we think we can do things. They’re supposed to be a surprise to us, too. We test ourselves only on the chapters we’ve already learned. Look how good I am, we sing. I never fail because I never try.

But I itch to go, to abandon the fief I owe to apprehension. I want to sink in that pit, even. Down is a direction, too. I want to abandon the protection of I know this for I would like to try that. Applying to schools means admitting I think I am good enough, and that has turned up the volume on doubt.

Doubt comes with risk. It isn’t failure, though. Neither is failure, frankly. As I push forward--pick up my feet like obstinate dog paws at the door to the vet—I have to make friends with doubt and remember it’s normal.

Instead of jumping out of my skin at that whisper, I’m trying to let it in--and move forward anyway.

*Yes, like that Live song.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read today at this very moment. Thank you so much for this post.