When does it happen? When do we start to lose our confidence…our belief that we are good and worthy and capable? Does it happen all at once? Or is it death by a thousand cuts?
I think confidence is like a candle. How long it burns comes down to myriad factors: the size of the candle, wick material and length, wax type, amount of added scent, environment…take a cheap votive candle from the dollar store with a short wick and put it in front of a fan and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out you aren’t going to have a flame for very long.
I feel like that chintzy votive. Like maybe all the factors that play into having confidence in oneself went to different candles.
Smarter, kinder, funnier, more talented, prettier candles.
Maybe my candle was small and I was born predisposed to being less confident. Maybe my wax was crap and the wick of patience and self kindness was short. And then slowly, bit by bit, society and circumstances turned on a fan and there was some kind of water leak in the ceiling that dripped down and a cat knocked me over a few times and someone kept dipping their fingers in the wax and letting it dry to make tiny wax fingerprints they thought might help CSI investigators if they were ever kidnapped (oh like you’ve never done it…)
I kept it burning for awhile, my sad little dollar store candle. Periodically at first, then more and more frequently it would blow out. I’d faithfully relight it but each time it burned a little dimmer…a little lower until finally it reached its end.
So here I am. My candle blew out guys and it feels like there isn’t a Bic in the world that’s going to relight that bad boy. It burned out and it’s been sitting there collecting dust and not writing anything because without confidence I have nothing worth saying. Without confidence there’s no point. Everyone has already said it and a thousand times better than me and why can’t I just be more positive like so and so or wittier like such and such blogger or at least have my skinny body back because even though that has absolutely nothing to do with writing and my passion and my authenticity AT LEAST SOCIETY TREATED ME A LITTLE MORE HUMANELY and damned if life doesn’t feel a little bit easier when you fit into its conventions and people are way more forgiving of terrible writing if you’re attractive to them so maybe it’s time to go blonde? Blondes always seem to have successful blogs. And successful books. So do vegans. I should definitely become a blonde vegan.*
But I haven’t given up completely. I think there might be hope. I really do. Because I read about people (ok, I saw some crap on Pinterest) taking the wax of candles that have burned out, melting it down and combining it with other wax…stronger wax…and making new candles. Bigger candles. Candles with better, longer wicks that burn brighter. New, interesting, beautiful candles.
Maybe, like these candles, if you’ve used up your store of confidence you have options beyond drinking vodka in the fetal position and eating your feelings. Maybe you can add in new ingredients…you can melt and mix and remold and become a new, working candle. I haven’t sorted out exactly how to remake myself into Robo-Candle (the Candleator? Termicandle?). I’m going to go out on a limb and say the answer’s therapy because I think the answer is always therapy when it comes to this kind of stuff. But I have to believe burning out isn’t the end. I think…I really really think that with some work and creativity I can be a new, interesting, beautiful candle.
*My brain works in run on sentences. Just go with it. If you can’t make it through the word vomit my brain spews here’s a summary: I have lost any and all confidence in myself and my writing. Thus you’ve heard jack squat for me in an unfortunate number of months.
PS: Someday I’m selling a kidney and buying myself one of those giant Yankee Candles. They really do last forever. I’m not even kidding. I was gifted a pine scented one for Christmas before I was married in 2010 AND IT STILL SMELLS LIKE PINE. Also this post is NOT sponsored by Yankee Candles. or Bic. Or the Dollar Store. Or anyone else. Dammit.
PS2: If you didn’t at least giggle at the better, longer wicks sentence then you may be on the wrong blog. Also I was originally going to say “candles with better, longer wicks that last longer” but thought it was too obvious. And also unrealistic. And also possibly plagiarism from a Viagra commercial.