I’ve been on such a high lately. I’ve been walking around “twitterpated” according to Mingles, my nerve endings and memory banks bursting with joy, wanting to dance around with a gospel choir or to curl up in someone’s arms. Still, there have been moments when those old doubts, the ones that have dominated my thoughts for decades, take a hold of me and shake me hard. Then I get a different lump in my throat and I can feel my face get long. I’m sure I get those puppy dog eyes Soldier said he didn’t see until my last afternoon in Nashville. This must be the face people turn away to avoid.
Mingles, one of my security guys, is a big brother figure to me. I tell him about my life now and then and he used to have a witty comment or advice. Last week, he joked that I had become “unbearable,” too girly for his liking, too stuck on my happy memories. Today, he told me he didn’t want to hear about it anymore, that he had his “fill.” He avoided me all day. It was strange. When I went into the security office, his supervisor made the observation that Mingles seemed upset and that most likely it was with me. It made me feel that much smaller. I know I haven’t done anything wrong yet I feel guilty.
In good news, my student has been moved out of the intensive care unit. One of his boys reported that he had visited him on Friday and that he could speak, if with difficulty in his breathing. I rushed to the hospital after work. I was excited to learn he had a new room. But when I got there, his room was crowded with young people, some wearing his gang color. For some reason, I felt stupid so I backed quietly into the hallway. I stood outside the door for a few minutes, listening to the chatter about weekend parties and people I didn’t know. I then headed down the elevator and out into the sunshine. For an adult, I can be so childish.
What makes me doubt myself so much? Why do I second-guess myself? Why do I allow myself to feel like a failure? I do my best. But I am so damn hard on myself. That is probably why I wrote the affirmations: I am happy with who I am. I love myself unconditionally. I am loved and lovable. Maybe if I say them enough times, I will believe them 100% of the time, instead of 85-90% of the time.