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Packing up old insecurities

Published April 17. 2010 09:00AM

I walked toward the door of the video store and it wouldn't open. Then I noticed the sign with an arrow that said, "Please use other door."

I could hear my sister and two friends in the car laughing their heads off because they couldn't understand why I walked so far out of my way when my sister parked right in front of the door I was supposed to use.

I felt stupid.

They were still laughing when I got back in the car.

I couldn't even come up with an excuse. So, I laughed with them.

But really. I do wonder about myself.

A few days before, I was at a function and tried to take a picture. I didn't remove the lens cover and forgot to turn the camera on. The lady sitting next to me leaned over and said, "It's OK. We're blonde. We have an excuse."

Duh. I'm blonde in name only. I'm a natural brown haired girl going gray and my hairdresser advises the blonde coloring. So by right, I really shouldn't being doing all the stupid stuff I'm doing because I'm not really a blonde!!!!

I like to think of moments like this as being "Momentarily Challenged."

That leaves the other excuse-"I'm having a Senior Moment."

Only trouble with that one is, if I live to be 85, I've got a lot of Senior Moments to look forward to. That's depressing.

So I've decided that since I've had a lifetime of blonde and senior moments to my credit, and I'm not blonde and I'm not that old, I must be just plain stupid.

Or, if you want to be more politically correct-"Forever Challenged."

As I prepare for a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend my first board meeting of a national organization I joined a few years ago, I'm calling myself "Stupid" all over again.

I can't help it.

It doesn't matter that I have a college degree and a professional job and learned which fork to use and when, I still feel like a little country girl out of her element.

Shy by nature, I'm very intimidated by others in the professional world.

When I was asked to become a board member last September, I thought I was being asked to serve on a committee. By the time I learned differently, I had a huge knot in my stomach and tried to get out of it. Unfortunately, the president wasn't having any of it. And so, here I am, packing my suitcase to go sit in meetings with women that I'll be so intimidated by and afraid they'll find out I'm just that stupid little country girl who can't find the right door at the video store.

I prepared my report and tucked it safely away in my professional-looking portfolio. I bought a new professional casual/dress outfit that I was told to wear at the meeting. And I've been chanting a daily mantra of "You CAN fool them. You CAN fool them. You CAN fool them ..."

I gotta tell you, though, I'm having nightmares of dribbling orange juice down the front of my new professional casual/dress outfit at the breakfast meeting, blurting out in nervousness one of my Pennsylvania Dutchisms like, "Ach, vhat do you mean my report is too long, now oncet!" or fall prey to the dreaded "insert foot into mouth" disease at some inopportune time.

All my insecurities have come home to roost.

As I place my new outfit in the suitcase, I remember something Richard Simmons said at a seminar I covered for the paper years ago.

He had us all sit on the floor and close our eyes. He told us to visualize a room with a closet. Inside the closet was a suitcase. We were to take out the suitcase, open it up and put all our negative thoughts, our worries of the day and words like "I can't do it," into the suitcase, close it up and put it back in the closet and close the door.

I decide to take his words of wisdom and apply it in reverse.

I take "Stupid" out of the suitcase and mentally throw it away. Instead, along with my new professional casual/dress outfit, I'm packing it with some confidence, assurance, along with positiveness and a whole truck load of courage.

I zip my suitcase shut, knowing it is filled with everything I need to face a new adventure.

Blonde Moment, Senior Moment, Stupid, Momentarily Challenged, Forever Challenged ... it's time to throw those out in the trash. I don't even want to store them in a suitcase in the back of my closet. They're convenient excuses for not succeeding. There's no room for those things in my suitcase going with me.

So, let's say I'm just plain Challenged ... to be the best I can be from this day forward.

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