One of my nearest and dearest, my “Sister from another Mister” (figuratively speaking and literally, j’adore her so she may as well be), planted the seed. “You need to share you. Get that stuff outta your head and share it with others,” she said after a particularly challenging time with some hideously toxic family dynamics. “Write a blog. Get it out there. You helped me. Fucken share babe.”
Having never thought myself a writer, I laughed. Have never thought myself terribly wise, insightful or all together, I snorted. Dismissed it. Drank some more wine.
But….niggling in the most primitive part of my brain stem came the whisper. What if? Yessssss. It hisses quietly. Yessssssss. It breathed greedily, audible now and subconsciously it spawned. Yesssssss. Do it. DO it. Do IT. DO IT. It began to irritate and itch.
Being a very private and at times socially awkward with debilitating shyness, I quickly squashed that Yesssss to no fucking way. I’ve been judged so harshly in my life and left emotionally bloodied, dismembered and broken.
The itch. The hiss. Yessssssss. DO IT.
Being acutely hypersensitive, could I? Would I? A perfectionist bordering on the obsessive neurotic to excel, should I? Yessssss. DO IT.
Fuck it. To quell the itch, here we are. With procrastination and motivational paralysis based in a fear of failure, weighing heavily on one shoulder and the middle finger to my insecurities on the other, I begin to write.
Laying myself bare, article after article. For publishing at another time. The question at the centre of it all, am I good enough? More honestly, am I enough?
At 40, is it normal to still question our deepest selves like this? Shouldn’t we have it together by now? Isn’t it written or universally known that when you turn 40, suddenly you’re hot, sassy and got your shit worked out? I think I may have skived off that lesson.
I’m a woman. A Mum to an 8-year-old boy. A wife of 10 years. Both incredible male specimens that are part of the Autism spectrum. I have been an OT (Occupational Therapist), a successful business owner, a senior business executive. I have an MBA, a post graduate in Risk Management and countless other acreditations. I am a qualified mediator. Managed hundreds of people of various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, helped others who have been most seriously and irretrievably injured from work reclaim their lives, sorted multiple large and small workplace conflicts, and managed “telephone book number” style operational budgets. On paper and impersonally, I am impressive.
But……but……still…Am “I” enough?
Intrinsically, I know.
Yes I am.
The beauty of 40 is you become clear and accept that you are. I am sensitive, intuitive and smart. I know people and I value the individual differences that make you, you.
Not one person is the same and certainly not one person on the spectrum is the same.
We are all beautifully perfect and flawed to create the mosaic of our existence. Unlike my 20’s where my self doubt was masked by aggression and large shoulder pads, sharp tailoring and a French roll, today I mange it with quiet courage and measured resilience. I combat my fear of failure; need for perfectionism by embracing it as just a part of me. Using and channeling it to help me achieve. It is one piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am.
And in the words of Gloria Gaynor, I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses.
Neither do you.
Has approaching or turning 40 changed your perspective? Do you still give much thought to other peoples opinions? How do you know that you are enough?
Obsessed with shoes, I am the classic over-thinker trying to get my balance right in a world that is filled with expectations.
I’ve been labeled driven and borderline neurotic, fun, crazy and focused. Having left the management consulting world behind, the newest addition to my collection of labels is: Mum.
Now a full time Mum to a gorgeous boy and a wife to the love of my life, both these intelligent and quirky males are part of Autism Spectrum. In addition to our 2 nutbag, nosey and noisey hairy hounds, they all teach me daily what patience, love and understanding is.
Generous, Mother, Cranky, Wife, Wise, Smart Arse, Listener, Anxious, Strong, Emotional, Clinical Advocate, Funny, Known-to-Love-A-Drink.
These are just some of my labels.
I am all these things and so much more.
Just like you.