Over the last two years or so, one thing I’ve noticed more and more is that I doubt myself far more than I ever used to.
Ten years ago, back when I was living in Manchester, I’d make a decision and stick with it – and sometimes those decisions wouldn’t work out, or they’d be based on flawed assumptions (god knows I made a fair few of those over the years) But most of the time they worked out, things grew from there, and I didn’t regret any of it. Again, sometimes mistakes were made – but they were based on what felt to be the best thing at the time. I did some truly idiot shit along the way – the ill-fated six month period of daily commuting round-trips by train between either Manchester and London, or Bath and London would probably be the lowest point in that particular theme. But I still did it – I’d made the decision to do so, and continue to do so, I reaped what I’d sowed and decided upon, and that was fine. (I pretty much had a breakdown at the end of it, but well, them’s the breaks)
Over the last decade though, that self-confidence (or at least confidence in one’s decisions) has been rocked a few times, and in some cases to the point of pretty much capsizing the entire damn thing. (I know, I’m kind of mixing metaphors. Live with it) And it’s had a lasting effect, which I’m not entirely pleased about. I’m still working on it, aiming to build back up on that, along with everything else.
I’m still OK on a lot of things – if I’ve said I’ll meet someone anywhere, I’ll do it. If it involves others, those decisions are solid, and it doesn’t matter what happens, I’ll do my damnedest to be where I said, when I said.
The real crux though is when it’s something involving just me. It doesn’t have to be travel, or an event, it can be anything really. (The Peter Gabriel gig this week being a case in point) Because it’s only me doing it, my brain can descend into a spiral of second-guessing itself, a whole range of “Do I want to go?” internal questions, a bundle of “What If”s, “Yeah But”s, and “Well…”s. I hate it, it annoys me so much. I’ve decided to do something, I want to just go on and do it. It’s the run-up, the cue time, the delays that bring about the doubts. [NOTE : When I talk about internal conversations, I’m not meaning ‘voices in my head’ as such, or any other inclement sign of madness]
I don’t know what’ll fix it – or even if anything will. I’m working on rebuilding it, on knowing that when I’ve decided to do something, it’s the right thing to do – even if it turns out, with hindsight, to have been fucking stupid. But sometimes at the moment it’s easier to give in to the self-doubt, to let it win, to take the easier and quieter route – which is, for me, most definitely the road less travelled.
Sometimes I think I’ve fought for so long, battled everything about myself and my life for so long, maybe I’m just tired of fighting for a while.
[NOTE – having read that last bit back, and realised alternative interpretations, this does not mean I’m giving in/up, or aiming to do anything stupid.]