14 May 2011

Self doubt

Lately I've been experiencing self doubt. I need to shake this off and make like the frog and the message above*. I need to realise my ability and be more confident. I think it might all come down to to the fact I am seven months before I turn 30. And I think I really just need to drink a cup of concrete and harden the fuck up. Or write it all down. Don't fancy the taste of concrete.

Turning 30. I am a renter. Earning an average wage. My bank account, unlike me, can't keep a healthy weight. Single. Childless. Nothing on the horizon to change these things.

In this past week I've had two friends get married (to each other), two friends announce their pregnancies, three friends go on or due to go on maternity leave, and one friend had a baby. I have two, maybe three wedding invites for this year. I am so happy for my friends, no doubt about it. It's exciting times in their lives. But I can't help thinking that I won't settle down and get married and have kids. It's not that I even want kids if they are badly behaved. I said to my Mum that I am reaching the age when she had me. She said she often thought she wouldn't find anyone either.  She reminded me that as I wrote once, someone will come along one day. And then I reminded her that she is normal. End of conversation.

I wonder what it'd be like to be in a long term relationship, with someone who has their shit together. Someone who loves me as much as, or even more than I love them. Regular sex. Mundane stuff. Letting myself go. I wonder if I will ever plan my wedding day outside of my head. I wonder whether I will be a parent - or even have a choice about whether I want to. Silly thoughts, I know.

He's been in contact again. When the initial text came through, while in Brisbane with my colleagues, none of which knew about him, before the all you can eat seafood buffet, I went white and a bit shaky. It came out of the blue. Earlier this week he gave me some encouraging words and told me he still... er...thinks of me. A friend recently gave me some wise words - 'you wouldn't be friends with someone who broke your arm, so why would you be friends with someone who broke your heart?'. And in between the late night texts between him and I, I thought of my friend's wisdom, and I continued to text.

I've been in a career slump too. My morale and motivation has taken a beating. I just don't think I am getting anywhere. And of course I have been doubting my best ability - my writing. I've had to have two tough conversations at work - tears were involved. I rarely get nervous but before these conversations I felt so anxious. Stomach in knots, shaking, tears welling up. This never happens to me. Fortunately now I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. And deep down I wish I had more time to follow my passions and dreams - to write more, do more TV work, and become a motivational speaker.

Sometimes I worry that my talents are only recognised because of my chronic illness. Would I be able to influence people with my writing without ichthyosis? Would people still find my stories interesting? I worry that I am not a good ambassador for the disability community because I don't have a severe enough disability or feel as strongly about political change as I do about social acceptance and inclusion. Sometimes I don't want to limit myself to just writing about disability, because in that field, all I have is my own experience. I have two Ramp Up drafts in progress, but I don't feel like I can take them far as the subjects are so close to my heart - and then I fear the subjects have already been covered by other writers.

I often wish I didn't have to explain why I look this way to strangers. Who else has to justify their appearance to others? I shouldn't have to pretend I don't hear kids' remarks about my red face so I won't offend their parents by answering back. My friends shouldn't get tired of the stares and comments that I no longer notice being thrown in my direction. I do feel privileged to be able to share so much of myself with strangers, but God, I do tire of looking this way. Sometimes I just want to get on with my day.

I know there are people out there doing it much tougher than me. I know I have a great life. And I've had success, and been given so many opportunities. And it won't be all doom and gloom for me. But I also know that I can come to my blog and write posts like this and feel much better - even before I receive comments. And to the person who googled 'carly findlay is a beautiful lady! you go girl! xx' - thank you :)

*picture was on Bern Morley's Facebook this morning.


  1. Mate. This happens to everyone. Everyone. And that adage, about the broken arm, man, how powerful is that. But unfortunately your heart isn't in control. Nothing is when it comes to liking or even loving someone. Reason flies out the window. So too what we think we are in control of, our self confidence.

    You are a brilliant writer Carly. Itchy or no.

    xx Bern

  2. Oh honey, you write amazingly, you work so hard for others, you have a magnetic personality, I do not even want to start talking about your dress sense. Sounds like you are having one of those weeks. Do not forget how brilliant you are. Keep on keeping on x

  3. I have the same "everyone's getting married/having babies" thing going on at the moment, so you're not alone on that front! When I said something to my mum about it, she told me that all her friends got married when she was 21, and she didn't get married until she was 28. I'm hoping history doesn't repeat itself... :S

    Anyway, I have a theory that your 30s are better than your 20s because you're over the whole awkward "what do I want to do with my life?" thing. God, I hope it proves to be accurate (she says, about to move back in with her parents at the age of 28...)!

    You're an incredible writer - you shouldn't doubt yourself!! xx

  4. you wouldn't be human if you didn't doubt yourself every once in awhile, everyone does it, even those amongest us who are considered beautiful, successful and everything beyond - no one feels great about themselves ALL the time.

    and as for turning 30 and evaluating where your life is that, that's normal too but you have to remember that sometimes our lives don't turn out like we hoped they would [mine certainly hasn't] but that's not always a bad thing.


  5. You are AMAZING. You are an incredible writer, regardless of your circumstances. You are a great person, with a huge heart of gold. You inspire people every day - and I know all of this just from reading your blog!

    I know our circumstances aren't the same, but I used to believe that no-one could ever love me either, what with my strange face & being covered in scars. Now I have been with someone for over four years, and he taught me that people don't always see beauty in the same way. Don't give up on love just yet!

  6. Hang in there lovely Carly. Trust your gut instincts, trust yourself and everything will sort itself out. It will. Sounds like you need another chicken laksa soon :) xx

  7. Carly I know that your circumstances and challenges are different to other peoples, but please know that you aren't alone. I'm already 30, I'm still only just finishing uni this year and I haven't found love. My baby sister is getting married soon and I am the only single sister of the 4 of us. I often feel sorry for myself, depressed, anxious, unlovable and like I am never going to find real happiness. I think we all have these kinds of struggles... i know we aren't all red, but we all have hearts that feel pain, hurt, loneliness and fear of many things including ourselves.. soldier on, lots of love xxx
    Lucy x

  8. Different chronic illness / same relationship marriage kids problem, except that I had a 15 year relationship and my heart is still shredded!
    My only advice is to not give up, and as I'm a little older than you - the 30's are sooooo much better than the 20's. You just wait and see girl!

  9. Do the Landmark Forum Carly.. it will assist you to overcome these fears and doubts :)

  10. Great post! I really enjoy you're more introspective ones.

  11. Ditto to what Bern said above!!

    You really are an amazing writer! :)


  12. Dear Carly, I am 46 (how the hell did that happen?) and I have moments of anxiety and insecurity. I think I always will and yet overall I would say I am a confident person. I try to address my negative thoughts logically as if I were a real and true friend. Is the thought true? Is it helpful? A lot of anxious selftalk is neither, eg I am crap at work. Well, the truth is I am good at some things at work and less good at others. I can think about how to address the things I know rationally that I am weaker at or not. I think this process can be helpful and calming. You have achieved so much and you aren't yet 30. Imagine what you will do by the time you are 35! So, you be kind to my friend, Carly!

  13. Carly-

    EVERYONE has their battles. You may just feel yours are more obvious than others.
    You speak about wanting to be a motivational speaker, you already are one via your blog.
    You say you don't want your illness to be what dictates the jobs you get/ how you are treated--- but consider it just another tool to get your message across.
    As for the love stuff---- it happens when it is meant to happen. And this isn't always on our personal schedule.
    Wishing you the best!

  14. I don't know what to say to make you feel better, but I understand where you're coming from.


  15. i dont comment nearly enough on your blog as i should considering i read it all the time, but i just wanted to say - hang in there! you are brave, beautiful and an amazing writer x

  16. Carly, I have the marriage and the kids and sometimes I feel a bit depressed and wonder, is this all there is? Ridiculous I know, but it just means we are all human and have self doubts. Your comment "Sometimes I worry that my talents are only recognised because of my chronic illness"... i read your blog because you are a fantastic writer, honest, funny as all hell and just so approachable, not because you have an illness!!! Love Belinda (Twitter, Roryjay)

  17. I'm much like you when it comes to renting when everyone else seems to be complaining about their mortgage - it makes me feel like a bit of a failure at times. It used to be easy to convince myself that I didn't care, but I really do. I'd love to have a place that's mine. I don't even want anything big - just a little place that I can care for.

    There's hope for all of us, I'm sure! Even when we doubt ourselves. I think you're a fantastic writer and your blog is always enjoyable to read. Your personality seems to shine through your words and that's what makes your writing so wonderful.

  18. Wow, so beautifully said. I hate it when the self doubt creeps in and gets me down. I happens to all of us. Remember what Scarlett said, "After all, tomorrow is another day"

  19. A very heartfelt post! We all go through phases where we can feel stuck. I think it's hard when you reach a level of success and then want to set forth to become even more successful, sometimes you hit roadblocks and the self-doubt can set in. Just trust in yourself and your ability. Be true to who you are. The good thing is that we are all unique, we all bring something special and important. Comparisons to other people are pointless, and can threaten our individuality. Hugs!
    Heidi xo

  20. Carly, I'm 28. I recently moved out of my parents house. (as in, I'll start renting soon when I'm done traveling, nevermind the morgage) I have no idea what's next for me jobwise. I took a medical leave from college. I'm in flux.

    Like you, I get stares and comments about my appearance.

    "Why do you walk like that?"
    "Can you drive a car?"
    "Can you have sex?" (I swear I'm not making that up)
    (If I'm sitting) "Why are you in the disability section of the bus? Can you please move?" (Answer: No.)

    Things have happened later for me. Everything from walking, to riding a bike, to forming relationships. That used to bother me a lot. (Sometimes it still does) My best friend is married and has a toddler. My other best friend got married in October. My third best friend just got engaged and will be married next year. There are a lot of mixed emotions. You are happy for your friends. You smile a lot. You never, ever want to envy anyone, cause no one likes a person who evies someone else. So you try to stay postive. You keep your thoughts to yourself. But sometimes you do think: When is it my turn?" "What about me?" "I should be doing MORE."

    To get out of my rut, I boarded a plane and started traveling. You have done so much more. You inspire others. You already are a motivational speaker through this blog. You touch people. And ironically, you have shown people that you ARE normal. People may have stopped by this blog because they were intrested in ichthyosis, what it is, and how you conquer it. But I promise you they stayed for Carly. You love fashion. You have a beautiful smile. You branch out to people and attend confrences to branch out to even MORE people. You have lots of friends. Keep doing what you're doing, keep being you, and I promise you that more good things will happen to you. You'll find that guy who'll love you for you, and he'll deserve you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will happen, probably in ways you'll never expect.

    In the meantime, embrace what you have done, what you have accomplished. Ichthyosis must be an annoying companion to have to deal with. (that's how I refer to my cerebral palsy) But that's just a part of you. That is not all of you. Don't apoligize for taking a moment to have a good cry and feel frusterated. But do me a favor: When you're done, brush yourself off, dry your eyes and keep on going. :)

  21. I understand exactly how you feel because as you know I suffer with the same condition. I have followed your blog for awhile and the best advice I can give you is to stop caring what strangers think and going out of your way to prove yourself to others Those whose take the time to get to know you are the ones who are worth it the others with the comments and the stares are irrelevamnt. Be confident in yourself and your self worth YOU DON'T OWE THE WORLD an explanation for being you. I go throUgh life not evening thinking about and just brush off the bullshit withe occasional woe is me day, all women our age unmarried and childless have The same worries you should think of it that way as a woman not as someone with a disability. Hope things work out for you and don't settle for any Mann.

  22. Dear Carly I am sorry you are experiencing self doubt, I must say you express your feelings very well in writing. I think self doubt is normal and healthy it shows you are an intelligent and sensitive person. You are not 30 yet and 30 is so very very young...but I can totally identify with your worries I felt the same at that age and much later!! In fact still now! But you face everything with such courage and good humour, I am full of admiration. xxxx I do hope this does not sound patronising or anything, I am not so good as expressing myself on serious topics xx

  23. Hi Carly,
    I said I'd come here didn't I?
    I have re-read your post .. And read the people's comments.
    I agree with each of them.
    I'd like to add a few more questions...for you to consider & keep the answers to yourself...
    1. Carly, who has been given permission to "give you self doubts"?
    2. Who else in the whole world is the same as you ?
    3. Does being The Carly on the Outside match The Carly on the Inside?

    No I am not a psychologist .. But have certainly been to some & the reason I asked just a few questions is for you to "hopefully" realize that your self-doubt is only a thought, some words, some unpleasant memories that is coming back for repeat visits.
    The interesting human thing to do when you are out-going, intelligent, bright & talented is not to believe it. I'm guilty. Others see it. We disbelieve it.
    Putting artificial time restraints via goals & achievements is damaging to self-worth. I am 61 and if I could have known that 30 years ago, my own life experiences wouldn't have made me sometimes angry & resentful.

    More than anything I say this:
    1. You are capable of whatever your belief system allows ...
    2. Limits are only for speeds on the road as far as "holding you back" goes. No limiting thoughts such as coulda woulda shoulda
    3. There is no recipe for happiness in the external or the so-called badges of success & "life goals achieved"
    4. There is one Carly Findley ever. That's who you are.
    5. Comparing yourself to others & so-called success stories of others is irrelevant



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