A couple of years ago I wrote about the Thank You cards that the senior English teachers make the kids write. This year was no exception–I did receive quite a few. But three of them caused massive introspection.
Three girls–each fiercely independent, ambitious, and gorgeous–wrote in their cards how much they look up to me and hope to be like me someday. Two even used the words “role model,” and sure, it’s nice to hear, but it also terrified me. Because here’s the big (maybe not-so) secret:
I do not know what I’m doing.
And the bigger secret: Most of the time, I feel like a complete failure at life.
My role models growing up were my mom and the women who led our youth group. All stay-at-home moms. I never really knew any women who were single and career-minded. In my mind, single women who had careers were incredibly inferior to stay-at-home moms; they were complete losers who were so incredibly repugnant that no man could tolerate them. They were second-class citizens in every possible realm.
So for anyone to look at my life and say, “Wow. I wouldn’t mind being like her someday” absolutely blows my mind, because on a lot of days, I don’t like being me.
But those three girls made me feel rather ashamed of myself, as I’ve spent the past couple of weeks wallowing a little, gradually eating my body weight in Heath miniatures. How could I possibly be a role model if I think so little of myself? It’s a bit of a rude–and necessary–awakening out of the funk I’ve been in.
Paradigm shifts aren’t easy, and I’ve been working on this particular paradigm shift for over a decade: my life is fine. I am loved, I am respected. I am successful, dependable, helpful, intelligent, and talented. And if someone like that isn’t someone to emulate, then I don’t know who is.