By Lisa Manterfield
I was always a pretty confident person, even as a child. I could be quite shy, and still am at times, but I was never fearful. I firmly believed that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to and I wasn’t afraid to try anything. I backpacked around South America, jumped out of airplanes, and tried all kinds of strange foods. If anyone told me it couldn’t be done, I took it as a cue to prove her wrong.
This is not the person I am anymore.
I’ve seen a difference in myself. I’m more timid about getting out there and going for what I want. I’ve become a nervous flyer, popping Rescue Remedy and gripping the seat arms on flights. I’ve even caught myself assessing flight times and potential for disaster when considering a trip. I can’t seem to make a decision without asking for opinions from everyone and then second-guessing myself.
After a friend commented on the change, I’m started to take a long hard look at what had happened to me, and the thing that popped to the forefront of my mind is infertility.
I hate to pin everything that’s wrong in my life on infertility, but in this case, I think I’m right. Infertility has taught me that I can’t always get what I want, if only I’d try hard enough. It’s taught me that bad things do happen to good people, and they could even happen to me. And it’s taught me that I am not invincible, and that has made a giant fissure in my confidence.
It’s very disturbing to realize this has happened, because this is not who I am. I am not a timid mouse. I am not afraid of life, but these past several years, that’s who I’ve become.
So, how to undo the damage?
Self-awareness is the first step. Now I know I’m this way, I’m checking in with myself when I feel my courage waver. It’s very helpful to step away from myself and look at what I’m really afraid of, instead of just pulling the blankets over my head and giving into it.
I’m also looking for the old Lisa in some of the places she used to be most confident. I took up orienteering again, which used to be a sport I was pretty good at. I’m not quite as fit as I used to be, but the old skills are still there and reawakening them is helping my confidence to grow again. I’m trying to recognize fear and treat it accordingly.
Finally I’m looking for ways to gently push myself out of my comfort zone (and I’m dragging poor Mr. Fab out of his, too.) We’re learning to sail, something we’ve never done together before. It’s just a small step, but it’s definitely an area in which neither of us is an expert, and yet I’m quite confident that we will survive.
I know I am not invincible, but I want to find my confidence again. According to my plan, I’m not even halfway through my life, and I don’t want to spend those years afraid of what might, or might not, happen.