Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about strength and confidence. I feel like I’ve developed a sense of strength and confidence that I’ve never had before. But what I’ve realized is that isn’t entirely true. That strength and confidence has always been there – I’ve just finally started to uncover it. And I’ve realized that there is more to uncover.
A while back, I heard something that has stuck with me. I didn’t really know why it stayed with me – in the front of my mind – but now I do. ‘Truth never changes. It is always there. Sometimes it is shrouded, but it is always there. We only need to remove the shroud.’
My journey in the last year has been incredible. Often, I have not had words to express what I have been learning or feeling. And, at times, it has been difficult to sort through everything that is spinning around in my head. I’ve come to realize that my mind does not work like most people’s. Things that make sense to me, things that are easy for me to understand, things that pop into my head – they don’t always make sense to others. I think we all experience an aspect of that. We are all created uniquely – no two alike. But what has truly surprised me recently is how little I’ve known about myself – how much truth has been shrouded. And, more, how other people have been able to see past the shroud – that the shroud seems to be mostly over my own eyes…
Occasionally, I still get asked why I would go back to work in the same job that I was so eager to leave. They ask what’s different about the job. My response is always the same – nothing. I’m different. That, of course, raises another question. What’s different about me? My initial response has been that I have confidence now that I’ve never had before. But that’s not really true. That confidence has always been there. I can look back on my life and see glimpses – things I’ve done and decisions I’ve made that could never have happened if I didn’t have some sort of confidence or belief in myself. I know that I placed a lot more trust in other people, than in myself, but I also know certain things about myself that have allowed me to realize that the confidence has always been there. One thing I know about myself is that I’m a terrible liar, and I very rarely say anything without sending it through a very high grade filter – which means that I very rarely just blurt things out. I mean what I say.
A few weeks ago, I was thinking about my journey, and I remembered the day that I turned in my letter of resignation. It hit me that I thought I had found my confidence after I left my job (continuing to develop as I went back to work), but I drew on that confidence before I ever left. I made the decision to quit on Monday. I wrote my letter of resignation that night, and I didn’t sleep very well, thinking about having to turn that letter in the next day. I sat at my desk that morning, trying to convince myself that I didn’t really need to quit that day. As much as I wanted out of my job, and as well as I knew that it was something I needed to do (even without knowing why), the thought of actually leaving was very difficult for me.
I have an extreme amount of respect for my supervisor. I appreciated the trust she placed in me and my abilities. She always had my back. I knew the impact of leaving – at least to a certain extent. When I finally got myself to stand up from my desk that morning, I walked into her office, and the conversation was difficult but very good. I asked her if she had a minute, and I sat down. The first thing I said was, “You’re going to hate me.” That statement stuck out to me recently as I was recalling that conversation. If I had no confidence, I could have never made that statement. Only knowing that I was more than capable in my job could possibly have allowed me to believe that my leaving would have any impact at all. I definitely didn’t believe that it would have the impact that it actually had, but I knew there would be an impact.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve also started to believe that I am a strong person. I’ve never thought of myself that way. I was sitting in my supervisor’s office a while ago, and she said something that took me by surprise. She was informing me of a conversation she had with someone I was struggling with. My supervisor told me that in the conversation she said, “If this would have been someone who isn’t as strong as Geri…” The rest of the sentence doesn’t matter. It threw me for a moment to know that my supervisor saw me as a strong person. Funny, though, when I related the story to another friend, she didn’t find it surprising at all. In fact, she loved that my supervisor saw that quality in me.
Again as I look back at my life, I can see times when I saw that strength in me. I’m starting to remove some of the shrouds. I know that the next steps in my journey are all about removing the shrouds. I know what some of that involves – naming those stones, accepting my scars, seeing myself as God sees me – to continue uncovering the truth. That is both an exciting and terrifying thought. It can be very difficult to let go of what is known and comfortable for what is unknown…