Last night I packed my suitcase once again. I’m leaving this afternoon to attend another conference. While I am looking forward to spending time with my friends, I don’t find myself very excited at the prospect of leaving the peace and safety of my home. Home seems to be the only place where I don’t doubt myself. It’s the only place where I feel like ME anymore.
As I looked through my clothes, I couldn’t find one thing that I really wanted to pack. It’s not that I don’t have a closet full of nice clothes, the problem is that I don’t think I look good in any of them. There is a formal awards dinner tomorrow night. Instead of thinking about the award I SOOOO want to win, I found myself more concerned about what to wear for that event. Everything I looked at, I decided against once I imagined it on me. “No. This will make me look frumpy.” “No. This will make me look like I am trying to be too young.” “No. My arms don’t look good in that.” “No. This makes my breasts look non-existent.” “I look fat in that.” “I look ugly. Period.” The voices in my head were not being kind.
I once enjoyed these conferences. I enjoyed the company. I enjoyed new ideas and learning new things. Now, all I can think about is not acting like there is something wrong with me. I wonder if friends that I have not seen in months will take me aside (again) and ask me what’s wrong. Will they wonder if I have been/am sick? Will they talk behind my back at how dramatically Pam has changed? I can put on the most lovely clothes in the world, but clothes can never cover up the things that I would like to hide. My hair can be perfect. My makeup can look great, but nothing can put the sparkle back in my eyes. That’s why I feel ugly now. The way I look hasn’t changed all that much, but what is on the inside of me has been altered dramatically.
When I am home, I can feel the me I once was beginning to emerge. I feel safe at home, and I am able to take things at my own pace. I don’t have to be “on.” I feel supported by my family. Healing can take place at home. It is these times out on my own that shake me up and fill me with doubt and fear. I am afraid to be alone with my thoughts. I’m afraid to be without the distraction of my daughters. I miss having my cat curled up on my lap.
Rebuilding my self-confidence is a monumental task. It doesn’t take much to shatter the delicate beginnings. Rebuilding who I once was is much more difficult than it was getting there the first time around. I suppose part of that is because I blame myself for ever letting anything, anyone, or any situation undermine what was such an essential and important of myself.
As I’ve thought about what the next few days will bring, I have decided to just accept feeling ugly. What I look like does NOT matter. What is important is who I am on the inside. I will go, and I will learn. I will catch up with old friends. I will direct my care and concern outward instead of keeping my focus on ME. I will stop caring so much about the ugly girl on the OUTSIDE, and concentrate more on on nurturing the beautiful woman on the INSIDE.