2011/01/31 – Doubt

 

When did I first doubt myself? The first memory I possess is when I was a little boy of six years old and involved in my first fight with another kid across the street. It wasn’t much of a fight, and I don’t recall the details, but I was humiliated in front of all the others kids that were watching and I ran inside my house crying my eyes out. I wasn’t hurt or beaten up or anything like that, I was more angry and shocked than anything. Angry at myself for not standing up for myself and shocked that “fighting” existed! I stood behind the screen door with tears on my cheeks and looking at the other kids playing without a care in the world. In a moment, and I didn’t have the words to express it, but I knew I was never going to like those kids who laughed at me. I was something less. For the first time, I felt depression, like the world had gone black and would never be the same for me again.

The secret was out, I was a coward and didn’t want to understand or even care about fighting.

A year later I went to Catholic School and learned about the Bible and Jesus and God and all the saints. I did not Doubt the existence of any of that stuff, since I took it all as something obviously real, since everyone around me considered all of it true. Especially the grown-ups. I loved participating in Mass every morning, listening to the mysterious sounds of Latin falling from the droning lips of the old Father, holding a golden chalice that held the Blood of Christ.

Father Thomas was a young priest who was assigned to my school (St. Vincent de Paul) when I was in the second grade. I thought he looked like a movie star or President Kennedy, young and handsome. I thought it was neat that we had the same last name. Then I realized that there was a Saint Thomas that was one of Jesus’ Apostles.

Then I learned that St. Thomas was also called, “DOUBTing Thomas” because he would not believe that the Lord had come back from the dead unless he could put his fingers into Christ’s wounds. According to the Gospel of John, when Jesus finally appears, Thomas is convinced and says, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus replies to the effect of that it’s cool to believe what you see, but it’s even greater to believe in things not seen.

However, I can excuse Thomas for DOUBTing since how many people come back from the dead. Thomas then was just being common sensical. But I have DOUBTed myself ever since that day when I ran home crying because I let a kid hit me. It is a pattern that I let repeat throughout my life ad nauseam. If there’s a problem, then run away. Or walk away, because somehow, I have programmed myself to do exactly this. I have everything I need to be an effective and directive being, but I accepted and allowed DOUBT destroy all of me. I have allowed DOUBT to give me permission to hate myself, and I don’t know why. It’s crazy.

 

Earlier today I felt like I was falling: literally, falling down some hole into the earth. What brought up that feeling? DOUBT. It’s like DOUBT freezes me in my tracks, makes every step I take forward, I take  a step back. Anyway…

 

Doubt has been my companion throughout all my life. Giving up because of Doubt was my modus operandi as I struggled through life. I didn’t graduate from college because I got involved with an older woman who I ended up marrying because I was “grateful” that a woman wanted to be with me. I walked away from my first real band because I didn’t think they wanted me anymore. I walked away from my wife because I wanted to do something than be a working stiff and a father married to a woman I didn’t love in a small, fucked-up, rural town in southern Ohio. I ended up creating something of my own and of worth when my next band became very popular. After several years I left because again, I didn’t want to do it anymore. Instead of defending my point, I quit. Was it Doubt? I had no doubt as a singer. None. But I wasn’t a musician. And I didn’t believe that I could play well.

Once again, I had doubted myself.

Then I went back to Ohio after leaving LA because I DOUBTed myself in being able to survive in California after my car was stolen. I was taken back by an old girlfriend, but I DOUBTed I loved her because I was more interested in her friend, who was more my “type.” SO I left and went to stay with my sister in Illinois, but I left because I DOUBTed myself there, as well. I couldn’t get a decent job and I was being harassed by the same type of kids I though I had left behind in high school. So I went back to my first wife so I could just have a place to live.

I had written and drew cartoons and worked on them to find a publisher. I felt I was getting better, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I did get a rejection latter from Kitchen Sink Press saying that my work was within the top 5% of the submissions they received, but couldn’t “take a flyer” on unknown talent at the time. He also said to keep submitting. But did I? No.

I was tired of being out of work, so I landed a truck driving job and spent the next two years away from home. It was pretty nice. But after two years I was fired because I had too many accidents. I was relieved because I didn’t believe I was a good truck driver, anyway. I was planning to leave my wife anyway, so I settled in another town. I was trying to get back together with the girl I came back to Ohio to, but she got mad at me when I told her that my wife had gotten pregnant. So I was all alone, trying to get my cartoons written and drawn. Drawing wasn’t a problem. I just didn’t have anything to say. So I began to Doubt myself as a comic strip artist. Eventually, I stopped drawing altogether. I gave up. I had nothing to say…

After two years of being alone and working minimum-waged jobs, I went back to my wife again. I just wanted love in my life. I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t any such thing from this woman or my children, just as I didn’t get any love from my parents. So I always searched for it… never finding it for long. Always disappeared over time. After another two years, I left the wife for good. Why, because I couldn’t stand her and wanted a single life again.

Of course, I didn’t meet anyone for a year, but then I met and went out with two wonderful women who both ended up dumping me. Both times I could see the end coming, which was interesting. I had Doubted my ability to “hold on” to them.

So I worked for years climbing up the ladder in the local print shops in town. I got to be pretty proficient within my skill set and was finally feeling good about myself, making money and eating out all the time. I eventually married again, but I DOUBTed the marriage would last because I secretly promised myself as soon as I wanted out, I would leave. After six years, I did just that. I should have left after four years, but I wanted to give her “another chance.” I left her because I wanted to get back with a former girlfriend who I thought wanted me back. It was a great surprise when I found out she had no idea that I wanted her again. She had no intention to get back with me. So I gave up in trying to get her back, and I  just went on…

I fought against the IRS because I found a flaw and an argument in the tax system. I fought for several years before I gave up. I DOUBTed that I could take on the system and win.

Eventually, I met two women on the internet dating sites. Very similar in nature and temperament. I ended up dumping them both. I Doubted that I wanted to be with them.

 

I got a job at a print shop that paid fairly well, but Doubt crept back into me because I had to do the work of three people some nights, and I kept making mistakes. The Doubt I experienced ended up costing me my job.

I ended up being out of work for six weeks before getting a very relaxing job at the Library. Exactly what I needed. Then, Desteni. Ka BOOM! I entered process, and the rest is history, as they say.

Doubt sometimess still plagues me. I can’t stand the Doubt anymore. Doubt has been with me for a long time, and in writing it all out, I can see why. I suppose the reason for Doubting some things I do is because everything in the past that I have tried has eventually turned into a fuckup, and I mean EVERYTHING. A legacy of failure. Which is what Society demands. But after working with the Desteni material, I am fostering much more self-belief, and it is quite a refreshing way to live, compared to my early, Doubt-filled days.

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