This is something I often forget, a misplaced memory that I usually don’t let resurface. I remembered today when I was thinking about how I went from not doing much to doing everything that I could. The memory slapped me in the face.
I had this moment of extreme doubt during my sophomore year of high school. Well, that was when it really hit me. It started in 8th grade when a boy from my school commented on something I had written online, calling me a terrible writer.
Eventually, I think I forgot about that. Flash forward to sophomore year: the same boy told me that I should never join the school newspaper because I was awful and they wouldn’t want me on staff. I tried to play it off as “no big deal,” telling everyone that he was just a jerk. But in reality, I didn’t join the paper that year. I didn’t join the paper the following year, either. I didn’t join the paper until my senior year, after he stopped going to my school.
I could come up with a million other reasons why I didn’t join the paper sooner, but that’s the reason. That’s the truth. I let the words of someone else who didn’t even really know me stop me. I let him get in the way of my dreams. I let him stop me from doing what I really wanted to do. Because I believed him. I believed him when he said you’re not good enough.
And I realize that it’s bound to happen again. I’m bound to hear someone tell me that my words fall flat, that my sentences fall short of what they should be, that I really, really just suck at doing what I love.
But that’s something that I’m choosing not to believe in anymore.
The Kooks sing “don’t believe in things that don’t believe in you.”
In many ways, I’m an optimist. I believe in listening to everyone. I believe in believing in everyone. I believe in believing to my fullest capacity, with all of the strength and courage and hope I can muster up.
But I shouldn’t use that strength to believe in my own doubts that have been reinforced by someone else. I shouldn’t use it to believe in someone else’s words over the ones that come from within me. I shouldn’t use it to believe in something that can only destroy me.
Just believe. But I realize now that I don’t have to believe people when they tell me I’m useless. I don’t have to believe people when they tell me I’m going nowhere. I don’t have to believe people when all they really want to do is stop me from believing in myself.
Believe in yourself.
Yes, I think that’s something that I can finally, finally believe in.