Am I Capable?
My self-worth is triggered because I still believe that I'm not good enough.
I have a habit of quitting when life gets hard. My breathing quickens and I fight back a mini panic attack. A barrage of questions swirl through my mind. Am I capable? Can I handle it? Am I smart enough? Am I enough? Am I capable?
My self-worth is instantly triggered because I still believe that I am not enough. It is the narrative that was inadvertently engrained in me throughout childhood. Mami, a helicopter parent and nurturing worrywart, constantly agonized about my health. She treated me like a fragile bird that needed to be rescued, often saying things like, “Mi hija, yo te lo hago, tu no puedes.”
Direct translation: Daughter, I’ll do it for you. You can’t.
Although Mami meant well and simply wanted to nurture her middle child and her paralyzing fear of bugs, strangers, and food, I interpreted her words differently. Subconsciously, I began to believe that most things in life - work, commitment, investing - would be too hard for me, and that I was too weak to do things on my own and would need to be taken care. All of this created a need for codependency and an unhealthy response to any scenario or person that set off my feelings of unworthiness. That response was to run.
Even now, Mami constantly asks if I feel overwhelmed by my career. With urgency in her voice, she reminds me to take it easy because of “lo que paso.” Ah, yes, that time when my body turned on me a month post postpartum and I survived a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage. This medical disaster (I am fortunate to be alive) fed into this narrative. Mami’s sunk her teeth into the role of helicopter parent and nurturing worrywart.
In all fairness, Mami didn’t know she was conditioning me to feel incapable. It’s actually cyclical. As an asthmatic, my mother was spoken to in the same manner that she speaks to me. She wasn’t allowed to do much as a child (no heavy lifting) and was always tended to by my grandparents because she was always sick. So, when Mami gave birth to a quiet and shy Aries that developed anemia and a small case of lead poisoning (oh, the 80s!), she parented me in a similar way.
It’s hard to break away from what you know. And yet here I am, a mom of a 5-year-old boy, cultivating my own path as a creative woman and powerhouse. I’m turning this shit around for generations to come.
I do so by being accountable and working through it. That means staying put to tackle the beast. I kick it in it’s gut and watch as it tumbles to the ground instead of fleeing the scene because confrontation brings me discomfort. I tip my hat (I love myself a hat), acknowledge the beast, and don’t let it crawl under my skin when it taunts me. I choose to react in opposition to what feels normal - even if it scares the shit out of me. And I choose to walk away when, instead of aiding my growth, the beast is crushing my spirit. Because not all spaces are safe. Because not every battle is meant to be fought. Because I choose to create my own stories and to shut down the Ghosts of Narrative’s Past.