As I was reading some of the previous posts, I noticed that I left some blank spots about how I developed as a person. I don’t have any traumatic stories to tell so it’s a little confusing to think that I had so little self-esteem after I reached my teens.
I just remember bits and pieces, of course, of my very early childhood. I know that I was loved very much and definitely “Daddy’s Girl”. In pictures of me as a small child I was adorable—curly blond hair and a cute smile. Up until about age 10 I felt completely normal and just like every other child. My parents were strict, but didn’t use corporal punishment unless we’d done something really dangerous or lied. My Dad was the one who administered and I adored him so did everything I could not to be in trouble. My Mom took care of the normal kid stuff with a sharp whack on the arm with a prominent arthritic knuckle that stung so I didn’t want that very often either. I had a very close and loving relationship with both my parents. I received compliments from them all the time. I just didn’t see the point in doing something I wasn’t supposed to and risking punishment. I had that “first born” sense of responsibility. Unlike my brother, I did not like to live on the edge.
I loved going to school and did very well. I knew I was smart and it was reinforced with praise from my parents frequently. I got lots of praise from teachers and always won certificates for achievement, etc. I remember having plenty of friends and even boyfriends. We moved every three years, but I didn’t have any trouble making new friends. So no reason for self-esteem issues during those years. My early teens weren’t so comfortable. I went through a terrible awkward stage and wasn’t so cute anymore. I still did very well in school, had plenty of girl friends and was well liked and trusted as a babysitter by my parent’s friends and neighbors. My parents still lavished praise at any opportunity. But the boys stopped being interested for sure. I wasn’t ugly, but I began to know that I wasn’t going to be “cute” or “pretty” enough. My brain started playing a repeating tape saying I wasn’t ever going to be pretty or popular.
Just before I turned 15 I actually dated a very popular boy for a few months. Being with him boosted my self-confidence just enough to be dangerous. I started feeling overconfident thinking that if he liked me then maybe there were other boys who would. He took me to a party one night and had a drink. I was furious and broke up with him. He was crushed and literally begged me not to break up but I was so full of myself that I followed through. I was so sure my dry spell was over. The other boys would now want to date me. Well, what a hard lesson that was. Not one boy asked me out. I was devastated. I desperately wanted to be one of the popular girls, but just didn’t seem to have whatever they had. By the end of 10th grade I was hearing that tape looping endlessly.
By age 16 I was in a new high school. I had managed to find a hairstyle and clothes that made me look a little more like the other girls. That summer I started dating a guy a year younger and we had a great time, but the day school started he dropped me cold. (Hear looping tape loudly.) For me dates were few and far between. A friend had to find me a date to the Junior Prom. I had a wonderful group of close friends, but no steady boyfriend like everyone else. No dates to dances, movies, etc., very often. And I don’t know what kind of scent I was giving off, but most of the boys who did ask me out seemed to think I was going to “put out”. Not on your life! I was a good girl. So added to the tape was the phrase, “they only want me for sex”.
In the summer I was 17 years old, I dated off and on, but it always came down to the same thing—sex or marriage. Guys my age wanted sex and the older guys wanted both. I did always look 4-5 years older than I was and was more responsible and serious than most girls my age. A few months into my Senior year one of the older guys offered an engagement ring and I stupidly accepted. Even though I could have, I had no real desire to go to university so this seemed like the next best option. He had a good job so here was someone who could take care of me. I guess I just thought I’d better take the bird in the hand since I was getting so old!
Well, my stupidity didn’t stop there. In January we decided we just had to be married and my parents, probably thinking that I “had” to, agreed. So I got married just shy of my 18th birthday, a virgin. I assured myself of having a date for every social event, but it wasn’t as much fun as it should have been. And I lost my chance to be a member of the Honor Society because I was married. That was a huge blow as I had looked forward to that through my school years. But I didn’t have to worry about a career or looking for a husband so I thought I was happy. Fast-forward 18 months to signing the divorce papers. Fortunately, my gut instinct was getting stronger and I was paying more attention and had the strength to get out of the relationship. But again that tape looped telling me I just wasn’t good enough and was a failure.
Now that I was divorced, it seemed that every guy I dated only wanted sex. I had been married so I must be in heat all the time, right? I just wanted to have fun, but after a few dates the guys either wanted to sleep with me or marry me. I was a dating disaster. And these experiences definitely didn’t inspire confidence in me. The tape played on.
As I read what I’ve written, it’s all about boys. Well yes, in those years you had to have a steady or do a lot of dating to have fun. Women’s liberation hadn’t started yet. No one went to dances alone or went out with groups of friends like now. So my life was kind of a paradox. All I really wanted to do was be married, but I didn’t want any of the guys who wanted me. I was just attractive enough to get asked out once in a while, but just couldn’t seem to keep a guy on my terms. I seemed to broadcast “sex here”, while actually wanting to be married first. I never felt pretty or sexy so I don’t know where that came from. I really was kind of a geek and didn’t seem to fit into any acceptable category. Unlike many, I wouldn’t dream of going back and repeating those painful teen age years.
So by the time I was an adult I was pretty much convinced that I was just too ordinary, too plain, to blah and only valuable for sex. All my experiences seemed to reinforce all those negatives. Basically, I was a mess. I knew I was very intelligent, but my lack of self esteem kept me down. That tape had done a good job.
I know now that I probably had something happen in a previous life, or several, at about puberty that was triggered in this life to start that negative tape playing in my brain. This low self-esteem certainly didn’t come from my family. The trigger may have been something completely innocent, but just enough to bring those unconscious memories to the surface. I also know that all those experiences helped to build who I am now, so they may have been painful, but were very valuable. Of course, I didn’t know about reincarnation then so didn’t have the tools to erase that tape and start a new positive one until many years later.