Self-doubt is often overwhelming. What if I lose my job? What if I lose my children? What if I lose my house? What if no one likes what I write? What if no one likes what I'm wearing? What if no one likes me? What if my parenting is scrutinized?
Insecurities can be paralyzing and can completely take over. There are days I find myself filled with so much fear that I make myself physically ill with headaches and stomach aches. In those moments I isolate myself and let the negative voices take over.
I truly thought that by becoming an adult, all those thoughts would magically vanish. Sadly I find at times they are intensified during moments of extreme stress.
If only I could learn to attack life the way I did when I participated in athletics.
On the fields and courts it was a different story. Out there, I escaped. I never doubted my skills. I didn't need anyone to be my cheerleader and tell me I was a good athlete. I just was.
Some call it being in the zone. But when I played, I heard nothing. I didn't care that I was drenched in sweat, that my hair was plastered to my head, my legs covered in dirt or that I was sans makeup.
Wearing my uniform, I was free. Free to let out my frustrations in a positive way. Off the field? I've always stumbled.
I could be dolled up in a little black dress with my hair perfectly coiffed and a roomful of people will tell me how beautiful I look; yet I wonder if they are just being polite.
I'm told that an article I've written has made an impact and I question if they really mean it, or again, are they simply being kind?
Where does all of this self-doubt come from? I am at the point where I care less about what other people think of me, yet what do I think of me? Why am I so hard on myself?
Why can't I be the confident athlete off the field as I am on? How do I transfer those powerful feelings and emotions I experience when playing or coaching and apply it to everyday life?
Life's not as easy as playing basketball. In a game there is a clear set of rules, a ref to call you out if you do something wrong and teammates to support you.
In life, it's harder to determine who is actually on your team.You aren't all wearing the same uniform. There are no rules, only your conscience and moral compass to guide you.
The ref doesn't exist; there really is no one to tell you how it works. You have to figure it out on your own.
It's easy to feel good about yourself when you are good at something, like I was playing sports. It's harder to find that confidence once the athletic journey is over.
I need to realize that the athlete is still there -- she's still a part of me. It's just a different playing surface.
Instead of practicing shooting hoops I now practice the art of writing. I cover news stories that provide people with factual information so they are educated. I write a column to help us all connect. I share in order to validate feelings of those who also struggle.
As a mother I'm fierce. I tirelessly try to raise my children to be confident, well rounded and caring people. There are days motherhood is exhausting. I'm ready to collapse after homework, driving to school, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and play dates -- just as I was after doing wind sprints.
And if you mess with my kids, similar to if you messed with my teammates, watch out. I volunteer coach. When coaching I find myself once again in the zone. The joy I feel when it clicks and a kid learns a new skill; I celebrate knowing I had a hand in that small victory.
The ghost of my younger self is still there, buried in my arthritic bones. The uniform is different, but the athlete? She's still there, because underneath the clothing, it's about being confident in the skin.