The older I get, the more important female friendships in my life have become. I have a handful of good friends, and some stellar acquaintances that pop in and out of my life, seemingly when I need them the most.
What I love about the women that I’ve become friends with, the ones who have somehow managed to plow past my awkwardness and not give a damn, is the sheer honesty. It’s beyond that though. It’s a frank Take No Bullshit approach that is truly both terrifying and enlightening.
I had two conversations lately with different friends. One is a narrator friend of mine and we talked about how hard it is in the industry when you’re faced with constant rejection. When you’re low on work, you send out emails, and if you don’t hear back, it feels like a rejection. Or when you don’t have work, surely it’s because you’re terrible and no one wants to hire you. Ever. Again. Or you audition and you’re ‘not the right fit’. Rejection rejection rejection. And then we talked about some of the males in our industry and how confident they can be. Almost cocky. We talked about this kind of attitude with a sense of awe, like, I would love to be that confident but if I do, I’ll be called a bitch and even more people will dislike me.
Then I was having breakfast with a good friend, and I was lamenting my writing career. How I’ve enjoyed self-publishing but what I really want is a contract. An agent. A publishing house to believe in me. “But why?” She asked. I gave her a ‘why do you think’ look. “No. I’m fucking serious,” she said. “Why do you want that affirmation? You’ve published seven or eight books now. When is that affirmation enough?” I told her I didn’t know. Then she gave me that “Of course you fucking know, you’re just being a wuss” look. (That is, actually, a look.)
“Fine,” I said. “Everything stems from my relationship with my dad. How he never really wanted me. Never saw me. And ultimately chose another woman’s children to be a father to because somehow my brother and I weren’t good enough for him. And everything I try to do is to show him that I am worthy of being loved. So everything stems from the fear that I’m not good enough and people have finally figured out the truth.”
I actually did say that and she nodded and said “Good. I thought you knew. I just wanted to hear you say it.”
So even knowing that I have a HUGE inferiority complex and I struggle with believing in myself…how do women do it? How, when faced with rejection, do you manage to keep going, keep fighting, keep trying again?
I really mean this.
I’d love some input, so I’m asking you, directly…you who are reading this…When you feel like you are not enough (not pretty enough, young enough, smart enough, talented enough, strong enough, enough enough) how do you square your shoulders, lift your chin and keep going? What are the things you tell yourself?
I just keep plugging along, hammering through, but I’m constantly afraid of people finding out I’m a fraud. And maybe it really does stems back to my father. Or maybe it’s something in society. Maybe there is something systemic that a confident woman, regardless of her age, weight, talent, success, etc, is unlikable somehow.
How do we learn to let it go, to be proud of who we are, to march forward knowing there is something unique in each of us that we offer every day?
Please let me know. I believe in the power of listening to others’ stories, and I’d love to hear yours.