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.
You are a wonderful writer! Please don’t stop. While you do get a paycheck as a practicing lawyer, it is often plagued by just as many instances of self doubt, and it comes with a heavy dose of guilt that you’re short-changing your child by not being a stay-at-home mom.
Thanks Debbie. I sometimes forget the angst of lawyering and trying to keep things in balance. I appreciate you taking the time out to comment. Hope things are well in your world.
This post is beautiful, but sad, as I can hear the self-doubt in your every word. You are a wonderful writer. I’m sure you are also a wonderful lawyer. Whatever choice you make will be the right one.
I know, so well, that feeling of judging your writing based on comments, or page views, and it can drive you crazy. I’m still trying to teach myself how to not do that…. it’s a really dangerous addiction though and as much as I love the Internet and blog worlds, it just gives new ways to judge and doubt ourselves…
I totally used to say “I don’t love you anymore” to my mom. Ugh. kids are so rough.
Blogging does give new ways to judge ourselves and measure our writing through comments – I have to remember that the important thing is the writing, something I love to do.
I think you are a great writer, this is the only blog I read. Before I started reading your blog, I thought blogs were lame. Since I have just moved to KY, and reading your blogs about moving to Arizona, I can relate, reading your blogs has eased the pain of moving from my hometown and away from my family. I really enjoy reading stories about you and your experiences, keep it up…Also, if I were you i would have put those pop tarts in the cart and snuck them out at the counter 🙂 Believe it or not, you should not judge yourself or rate yourself on comments or page hits…By reading your blog, someones day could have gone better or you might have change their life or perspective in a major way…to get to the point, dont stop writing and do what you love 🙂
Thanks Nirav. So nice of you to single out my blog to read and comment. Your advice is right on. I shouldn’t forget that I am doing what I love.
Hang in there. I am certain you will settle down in your new city.
Rudri, my 3 year old son told me the same exact words just the other day. Ouch. And like you, I didn’t expect to hear these words until he’s a teen. I consoled myself by thinking that at least he didn’t say “I hate you” and reminded myself that I’m not the only mother who loves her child more than he loves me. I think parents almost always love their children more than the children love them.
I agree that doubt serves a purpose. So does faith. Between the two often lies a choice. Can’t say I always know which side I lean when it comes to, oh, many things.
Anyway, as my fellow commenters have expressed before me, you’re a great writer and am glad I “met” you through your writing and not your lawyering :-).
I am equally glad to have met you through writing. I’ve learned so much about myself through your posts and I enjoy the dialogue that we share. It is all about connecting with our words…
Please do not stop writing and pursuing your desire to do a novel. I think your writing connects and expresses so many different parts of your life. I get on Facebook just to see if you have posted a blog. I do it because I always walk away learning something or appreciating something. You have a gift of putting things in perspective.
Your Old Pal.
Thanks dear old friend. I needed that.
I will always believe, and still believe that writing is what you were meant to do.
Expression through words. Written art. Life as your canvas.
Just keep writing. 🙂
Thanks. You are the best sister ever.
I have been a bad friend…I read your blogs all of the time and I thoroughly enjoy reading them but I never leave a comment. I apologize for that. In fact, before I read the one today, Kushal and I were thinking about you and your family during dinner and I mentioned some of the topics you have written about to him. Keep your spirits up….you are a great writer!
Thanks Leena. You are not a bad friend. I have to remember that lack of comments aren’t an indictment on my writing. Hope all is well on your end.
I think that self-doubt is a natural part of life and motherhood in particular. Hannah has told me the same thing. Even though I know she doesn’t mean it, it still stings a little. But for every one time she says that, I get a hundred times when she tells me she loves me, she gives me her sweet smiles and hugs, and all the little things that melt my heart.
I hope that for every moment of self-doubt that you have about your writing, you have a hundred moments of reassurance, whether from your family and friends, comments on this blog, or the satisfaction of writing something that touches people’s hearts. I absolutely think you’ve made the right choice because you are a fantastic writer and you’ve touched my heart.
You are right Kathy, the hugs and the love you’s make up for all of those drama filled moments.
As for your comment on my writing, I am touched. It means so much.
Hi Rudri, I thourougly enjoy your columns. It’s great! Keep them coming. I think your subjects are very relevant and your writing is terrific. I don’t know if i notified you about a comment I made on vegeterianism article. Also, i’m not very good at submitting comments so I don’t do them all times. Matter of fact, I hardly make any comments for any articles or Blogs (including Big B’s). But I do enjoy reading them. That probably applies to many of your readers. So i think number of comments you might receive is not valid to prove how good of a writer you are. That’s my 2 cents.
Keep up the good work!!
Thanks Jignesh. I appreciate it. You are so right, comments do not dictate what writing is about. I need to remember that. Thanks for the gentle reminder.
You are a fabulous writer! Don’t give up! I think may people can relate to your posts. You will have a novel out there in no time:-).
Thanks Manju. I appreciate your support. Everyone needs a gracious cheerleader like you.
I’ve been gone – on a wonderful trip – for over 3 weeks and I’m just catching up with your blog. Please don’t think that just because no one comments that means we aren’t reading. Your beautiful essays evoke emotions and memories and give me things to think about as I go through my day. Please don’t stop!
Thanks Pam. I appreciate your comment. Every time I see you comment, I smile and think back to those days as a library aide as a 7th grader. I remember the comfort I felt working behind the desk, shelving books, and talking to you. You were certainly someone I counted on, muddling through the angst of middle school waters. I will always keep that memory in my heart. Thanks so much.
I popped over from SITS and kept reading. You are a lovely writer. But I know those feelings of self doubt. I hope you find the way to power through them.
It is difficult working through self-doubt. There are a million what if’s going on in my head, but I’ve learned to be patient with myself.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you enjoyed perusing through my posts.
Motherhood teaches so much. Doubt is a reminder of our responsibility to be sensitive and responsive… Which are gifts needed in writing, mothering and lawyering, all of which happen in their own time. Discomfort–found in doubt–only brings more depth to all you do. Thank you for sharing.
I have enjoyed your writings. And have been able to identify with some. My daughter also told me one day she hated me, and she did then. It made it sweeter when she later told me how much she loved me. Also, the writing about your Father made tears come to my eyes. Writing is a lonely journey, but it fills our hearts like nothing else. You are good at it….remember that. Should we meet for a coffee or better yet some Indian food? You are a writer my new friend. I asked my son once what he thought of my first book and he said,”it doesn’t matter mom…it’s your heart”. And I will say that to you Rudri, its your heart.