I am in the grocery store, loading items into my cart, my daughter hanging off the metal ends. She wants something. I ignore her for a few minutes, but she is unrelenting, saying “Momma, please, I really want the pop tarts, please.” She doesn’t like pop tarts and I am not going to give in. I realize what this means. Crying. Screaming. Loudly. In the middle of the grocery store. As predicted, all these things happen when I say “No, you can’t have the pop tarts. Remember you don’t like them.” I am prepared for her usual reaction, but this time she adds, “Momma, I don’t love you anymore.”
What I hear, I can’t believe. I thought phrases like that one would come later, much later, like in the middle of her teenage angst. I wasn’t ready for it now. And not at the end of this week. This week has been full of self doubt. The phrase “I am not sure I am good enough” has been repeated in my mind, over and over again, laced with apprehensions about, yes, I am going to say it, the future. I don’t know where I am going. I try to write everyday. I fill the page with words, hoping to connect them, but when I read them, I grimace, and hit the delete key. Self doubt creeps in again. Should I abandon writing and practice law? I don’t know. I do think about returning to the law for its validation. As a lawyer, there were tangible rewards, in the form of client praise and a paycheck.
When people ask me, “You stay at home?” I say, “Yes, I do. But I write. I am working on my novel.” I see their response, a mirror of the self doubt I am feeling myself. I don’t have a single piece of work on a bookstore’s bookshelf or a magazine article featured anywhere. I write this blog, in hopes people will relate to my words, and there are days when I go without a single comment at the end of a post. I see that as failure. Self doubt creeps in again.
I think we all experience these moments where we feel that we aren’t cutting it. It can happen anywhere. At home. At work. For me, it happened, in the middle of the grocery store. I know she didn’t mean it, but I had to acknowledge it. Acknowledge that doubt will be part of me and that in some moments I may not measure up. But maybe this is the way to clarity.