Welcome to my first blog post! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a couple of years, and always talked myself out of it. I have been under the assumption that no one was interested in what I have to say. After posting for awhile on social media outlets, I have been encouraged by friends and a few family members to write. While I try to keep a lot of my feelings private, sometimes writing about it helps. Sharing in this way, I may find others who have been through similar things, and who can be supportive.
My self esteem has always been low. I can attribute this to several reasons. I am the youngest of 5 daughters of a minister and teacher/social worker. We were always held to very high standards when it came to manners, behavior, grades, etc. because of our father’s job. We were not the stereotypical wild “preacher’s kids.” We were very well behaved. I always felt like the screw up in my family, who could never measure up to the smart, popular, and pretty older sisters. I was a bit of a clown growing up, and still am! I tend to use sarcasm and self deprecating humor to get through just about every situation. I was definitely an awkward ugly duckling, which didn’t help. Being funny was a way to get recognition. I also suffer with debilitating (at times) shyness. I know….seems a bit contradictory to be a shy goofball. Basically, I have to really force myself to have conversations at times, but if I feel comfortable, then I can relax and be myself. I read recently about introverted extroverts. This is definitely me. Sometimes it’s painful to have to talk to people. The overwhelming anxiety is excruciating. However, most of the time, I push myself through it. Sitting at a keyboard, and taking the time to organize my thoughts is a much better (and safer) outlet for me.
Growing up, and into adulthood, I realized that being the youngest in my family held very little credibility. I loved art, and had a little bit of talent, but there was already a great artist in the family, so I wasn’t really encouraged to develop it. I was an excellent reader, and made good grades (except math became a problem for me), but my sisters were always smarter. I played the piano, but two others did it so much better. Basically, I just wanted to be good at something! I wanted to make my parents proud, but I never heard them say that to me. Not that they weren’t….they probably were, but I never heard it. I make sure to tell my kids that I am proud of them.
I became a teacher, and I’m good at it! Then I found that even though I was the teacher, my family would not ask me questions about teaching, proofreading, homework for their kids, etc. They would ask the “smart sister,” even though I taught exactly what they were questioning. It didn’t make sense to me, and was very frustrating that nothing I did seemed to measure up. I had to decide to either stand up for myself, or to not let it bother me. I did both. Sometimes standing up for myself hurts feelings, but trying to pretend it isn’t happening hurts my feelings.
As an adult, I still struggle with this acceptance. I have a feeling that if I won the Nobel Peace Prize, or discovered a cure for cancer, I would still be the awkward little sister, who doesn’t measure up. Am I still little? Yes. I never grew taller than 5’1″ (I am the shortest sister). Am I awkward? Absolutely. I still stumble over my words, and say stupid things. Am I the smartest? No, and I don’t claim to be. I’m also not the village idiot. I’m constantly reading and researching. Thankfully, I outgrew the ugly duckling phase, and am now learning to accept wrinkles and gray hair. Are my kids rocket scientists? No, but they’re really good kids, who are learning to successfully make their way in the world, with kindness, talent, and good hearts (and they’re all funny). They’re very normal. Am I the nicest sister? No, but I’m probably the most accepting. I’ve published a book, and am working on more (none of my sisters have done that). I’m not afraid to take on new challenges. I’ve moved a few times, changed jobs, remarried to the love of my life, and try to look at life as an adventure, trying to enjoy it to the fullest. I try to be a good person. I try to be me. If I’m not measuring up in everyone’s eyes, that’s ok. I may always be the goof up, the black sheep, or the awkward little sister who doesn’t know anything, but I do have a lot to offer. I’m kind. I’m a good mom. I’m a good step mom/friend. I’m a good wife. I’m a good teacher. I’m not judgmental. I’m spiritual. I love animals and the environment. I love art. I love literature. I love to watch sports. I love traveling. I love exercise and the outdoors. I love helping others. I’m really not that bad! I am me.
“Being yourself is the prettiest thing a person can be,” -unknown