Growing up in small town Kentucky, my days as a little girl were filled gathering dandelions and playing in my tree house until the sun went down. It was simple. It was sweet. It was safe.
I went to the same school for all twelve years with the same 100 kids in my graduating class (give or take a few transplants). Everyone knew everyone. But perhaps more important than that, everyone was known for something. In one way of another, each of us found success as a big fish in a little pond.
There is profound comfort in being known and in knowing people. And typically (short of a few bad seeds) people who know you, root for you. This level of community acted as a giant security blanket for me. It helped build my sense of self confidence.
I left Murray, Kentucky at 17 for college. Twenty plus years later, after moving from place to place—deeper south for school, further west to Texas, across the pond for a jaunt in jolly ole England, north to NYC, extreme east to Beijing and now as far west as one can go before falling into the Pacific, my sense of confidence has certainly been tested.
At my age (the age when we are supposed to have all of our sh*t together, right?), I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but Los Angeles has hands down, tested my confidence the most. It's a city of "who you know". And when we moved here, I knew very few.
Every time I put myself out there and every event I go to, I know there is a chance that I will literally know no-one, or worse, that I will know someone (note the singular), but that person will know many people—in a next level kind of way. The kind of way that often results in me feeling a bit leech-like.
Almost 40, and I have finally realized that my sense of confidence is twisted. It's not about who I know or who knows me. It's about how well I know myself.
I've praised my small town childhood for the concrete foundation it gave me for years. So much so, that I've stressed over the vastly different experience that Brett and I are giving our own children. I will always be grateful for my upbringing, but my recent struggles with insecurities, have proven to me that unless I'm willing to stay in that "safe place" forever (I'm not btw)—occasionally feeling out place is just a part of life. One that keeps me searching for who I really am—so that I can become my best self.
I still have a long way to go in becoming the best version of me, but rather than beat myself up for feeling insecure along the way, I'm going to harness those feelings and use them for good.
For one reason or another, the bright lights of LA called our names. We answered, and I am so glad we did.
There is always risk in trying new things, but where there is risk—there is reward.
What insecurities are holding you back from taking a risk or putting yourself out there? Perhaps you should listen to them... and then tell them why they are SO wrong!
From one constantly struggling mama to another, I say GO FOR IT!
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