Even beginning to write this, I feel tripped up on the starting line. There is a voice, louder than I'd like, shooting down every idea, poking holes in every argument, and challenging do you really believe that? Is that true? Who cares?
I've been fighting this feeling so hard, the last couple of weeks especially, and with it a really intense shame. I don't want to be seen this way, so uncertain. So I've been chasing down certainty with a passion. I took several personality tests (maybe a result will give me more self confidence). I keep flirting with books (maybe this one about spirituality will hold some answers), and morning routines (maybe starting my day right will teach me how to spend the rest of my time), and rules with Phoenix (no throwing food on the floor, and ask nicely). I want to know who I am, what I stand for, how to live well; for now and forever, the end.
Doing the self discovery, reading, routines, boundaries...these things are nice and I'm glad I'm doing them. But I'd be lying if I said they're eliminating doubt.
There are people in my life who seem ready with answers, way more confident in their world views, methods, and ideals. They deliver messages so simply. They take action without questioning, without getting caught in the grey. I want to be there. I want that certainty—a routine that shows I've figured out what's best and do it consistently; a religion to prove I know what I believe and can practice it. I want to write the book on parenting. And not even for others, just for me.
Let's just get it out on the table. When I buy organic produce, or have a baby without drugs, or buy an old house, or practice yoga, and then maybe stop doing half of those things and do the opposite, it's not without doubt. It's not without question. Even the things I feel most passionate about are subject to change. I sometimes think nothing is sacred.
I can go through the motions. I can pretend the routine is the answer, the religion is my truth. They're not. Doubt is.
So what to do? I've played the role of expert, tried on actions and methods that make me look surer than I am. On the opposite side, I've been crippled by my doubt, afraid to do anything. Today, I think I decided to make a friend of my Doubt, to let her speak her piece. I won't let her control me, but I'm done trying to silence, outrun, or hide her. I'm ready to own her; expose that it's not easy for me to swallow explanations whole, to take advice without question, to submit to authority without a challenge. It's not effortless for me to form long-term habits, adhere to routine, or take up the banner and live and die for one cause. I just don't know myself that well yet.
Even so, I'm going to finish my book, and continue with my morning routine when I can, and keep saying "no baby, how do you ask nicely?" The doubt probably won't go away, but that's no longer my objective.
Now that the cat's out of the bag and you've met my friend, Doubt, hopefully I can end this charade, if only with myself. I can stop trying to find the thing that fits, that works, all the time, perfectly, the end. Maybe I can learn to live with intention, not guarantees. Most importantly, I can try to embrace and accept this part of myself without shame.
Hi, I'm Maddie. I live in a very grey world. I want to belong. I want to be on the team. I want you to be able to count on me, but I can't promise you an unchanging static person. All I can promise is honesty, and maybe more questions than you can answer, and mostly all the room and permission in the world to be very unsure yourself.