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C is for Confidence...
I’m in transition now, and I’m afraid. I’m afraid that the young woman I put on pause many years ago may not be ready for what’s next. I was 19 when I had my daughter and for all intents and purposes I put a pause button on my growth. My evolution into womanhood. I was a baby raising a baby...I knew it then and now in my late 30s I still feel like an insecure child sometimes.
I thought I was evolving and that my daughter and I could do it together. I got so dependent that the thought of being without her has me feeling overwhelmed with fear, sadness, and doubt all laced with excitement. I equate the feeling to a mother bird who’s baby bird has fallen out of the nest. Only, my baby is ready to fly. In all honesty, she’s already taken many test flights even before her time.
I fear for her, but in reality I fear for myself. I fear I won’t make it. I fear who I may discover. I fear what no longer having the single mother label will mean to me.
You see I’ve worn the single mom title as a badge of honor. Yeah, I got this, I’m a mom and a warrior, but in truth the badge was my armor, with men, with life. The reason why I couldn't take risks. Oh no you see, ‘I have a child to look after...’ was my motto. ‘When she’s gone it will be my time’, I told myself. Now the wheels of freedom have taken motion and that play button is being pressed not by me but my daughter. In less than a month and a half my baby heads off to college.
You see in reality I’m getting what I’ve always thought I wanted, freedom. The freedom that all mothers lack. The freedom to come and go without thought or consideration. To only think of themselves, before the kids came. To be a little selfish and for that to be ok. I got back my “freedom” and although that 19 year old kid longed for those days, my wishful perspective has changed.
I now fantasize of my daughter being only 14 and having a few more years with her. I wish for her to be 10 or 5 years old, but more so I wish for her to be a few months, so I can hold her one last time in the safety of my chest. It’s funny how you’re longing for something changes and in that moment while you wish for other things, the very thing right in front of you is what you’ll long for and pain you later.
Now, all the things I wished for are knocking at my door, they’ve taken a long journey to get here and they are ready to start living! Am I? No longer a child to hold me back and still young enough to do it all. Yet, it’s my child that’s put everything in motion. She’s the real warrior, she’s heading to college in another city 6 hours away from me. She’s going to ‘figure it out mom’ she tells me. She says ‘we’re too close mom’ and in her words ‘in order for us to grow, we need to be apart.’ Her wisdom and bravery inspire me. At 19, all I could think was I can’t wait for her to go to college, and now she’s the one letting go.
In a few months, I’ll be moving closer to the beach. No longer looking for a 2 bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood, or even a single thought about the schools district. Now only an apartment that is suited for one. A few months ago, I left a corporate job I hated to work for Uber/Lyft full time until I figured out what’s next for me. My way of putting things in motion until my daughter takes flight. It’s time for just me. The real me, that 19 year old that I left in that cocoon many years ago me. Uber/Lyft taught me patience, self-discipline, and the real art of listening. Funny the lessons you’ll learn in L.A. traffic. One of those rides led to a sales job at a startup offered by the President himself. Then came an offer to work as a sales rep for women’s organization. All the steps to my self-discovery seem to appear at just the right time when I’m filled with self-doubt, insecurity, and fear.
Am I a saleswoman, am I a driver, am I a writer, am I really more than a single mom? Back when I hit pause on my dreams and vision for the future the biggest thing I wanted is to grow into a real woman, a self-assured woman, walk with grace woman, that my strut alone would someday fill the air with self-confidence. Instead I was the insecure girl, full of doubt in herself and the future. I use to admire women who seemed to have it all figured out. Never really knowing that confidence begins in insecurity, is fueled by faith and then cemented in self-assurance. That the shame, awkwardness and even the fear of not being all you want to be right now is part of the journey. Now, I’m not here to sell you on the journey bit, because when you're in it, building blocks and journeys bits feel like b.s. Even faith loses the fight sometimes. I’m here in the hopes that my story sells you on yourself and your choice to start something new even when you have doubt what will come of it, do it anyway. I’m unsure what the future holds for me, I’m scared, I feel alone, yes it’s painful, and yet looking back on my life I don’t regret taking the leap on the things that matter. I see my daughter now and sense of pride and happiness for her overwhelms me. Its time I get that same feeling for myself.