A friend of mine, Gigi, once told me, “You’re so busy trying to prove yourself, you don’t realize you’ve already made it.” Gigi doesn’t read my blog. She’s too busy being great. I mean it…she’s a big deal lawyer turned campus violence-prevention advocate. She’s either running around the country giving talks or being interviewed by the New York Times.
But I knew her before all that. I knew her when she, too, was proving herself well after she needed to. She proved herself in the courtroom. She proved herself in the kitchen. And she proved herself when she juggled five kids, a big house, and a big career.
Gigi and I grew up not too far from each other, but we didn’t know each other. We met on the streets of Philadelphia when I got my car stuck and needed her to move her car so I could get mine straightened out. I left her a note and after sorting out the cars, she decided we should be girlfriends.
“You want to come to my aerobics class?” she asked. Uh, okay. I mean, why not? How hard can it be?
Turns out, Gigi was also proving herself with high kicks on the aerobics floor and didn’t bother warning me. I was pretty beaten up, but I signed up for more. In those years, Gigi and I would spend our Saturdays together, first going to aerobics, then working on new aerobics routines, then going to Reading Terminal, coming home to root through each other’s closets, and finally going out for dinner. We were young, thin and hungry. Hungry for food and hungry for success.
I was thinking about Gigi today because I was feeling insecure. You know, not good enough. I’m not sure what got me in that funk but it wasn’t going well. I tried the usual things: I wrote in my diary, I ran 6 miles, I texted one of my best friends who did her best to text me out of it. I thought about Gigi. And then I did what every girl does who doesn’t know what else to do.
I called my mom.
I know what you’re thinking. Oh, that’s so sweet. I’m sure her mother will say all the right things and nurture her back to mental health.
You don’t know my mom.
Unlike many moms, mine rarely takes my side. If I’m having an argument with someone her first line is, “Well, let’s look at it from their perspective.” Or, “I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way.” I know I’ve been wronged big time when my mom agrees with me.
So, I figured – slam-dunk. If I’m feeling inadequate and lousy she’ll have to take the other side, right?
But, still, you can never be completely sure so before we got too into it I warned, “Mom, your job is tell me I’m wrong and being ridiculous.” She agreed (telling me I’m wrong is always appetizing.) Mom even ratcheted it up a notch. She got me telling stories I hadn’t thought of in a long time – and they made me laugh and realize I’d best listen to that old advice of Gigi’s and stop trying to prove myself. Things will be fine. I will be fine. And if I can laugh at my ridiculousness, even better.
I was thinking about writing some mushy gushy email to my mom because I realized how lucky I was to have her around. But instead I decided to write this blog. And run. And text my girlfriend that I’m better now – self doubt left curbside.
Write and tell me how you manage your way out of negative thoughts.