Introspection and Self Doubt

A number of the young women bloggers I follow write a lot about self doubt. Do I write well enough? Am I a failure if I give my kids pizza for dinner from time to time? If they don’t grow up to be good people, it’s all on me. I need to make the world a better place – today! How can I be a good mother and an interesting marital partner? And then, after awhile, they ask – What happened to me? Where did I go?

Those last two were things I used to think about. I married the first time when I was twenty and had two young children by the time I was twenty-three. This was well before the internet where I might have found help for how overwhelmed I felt. It was even before there were many self-help books. My husband probably was as overwhelmed as I was, but he turned his insecurity into verbal abuse and because I’d never lived on my own, had never earned a salary or paid my own bills, or really been responsible for my own life, it was easy for me to buy into his views of my worthlessness.

I felt like I had been erased. Where was the secure, smart, motivated person I’d been? The young teen who had thought about choosing between being a ballerina and a brain surgeon. Okay, the ballerina thing was delusional, but medical school not out of reach.

It took eleven years for me to get out of that first marriage. My two children were only part of the reason I stayed so long. I had a college degree but had never had a real job. If I left, how would I support myself and my kids?

I look back on 41 years of a second marriage to a lovely man who still thinks I’m smart and talented and beautiful. But it took me a long time to believe him. And it took him being injured in a catastrophic automobile accident thirty years ago for me to understand that I could make it on my own. The scared child inside me got pushed aside by the need to take care of my husband and our four children. It wasn’t easy, but at the end of six long years of his recovery, I no longer doubted my ability to take care of myself and my children. It put a lot of things in perspective.

Maybe it’s the process of aging, but my worries today are about our country and the world, not so focused on self. My kids are adults and make their own decisions and the consequences are theirs. They are good, responsible, caring people. The kind of people I hoped I would raise. The occasional pizza I fed them didn’t seem to inflict lasting harm.

Parking Lot Rant

Like most people who blog, I have draft posts that were never published. I just found this one.

This post isn’t about writing. It’s just a rant. Couple of days ago I noticed that some bozo or bozette had cut his or her wheels while I was parked at Graul’s Supermarket (I’m gonna be gender neutral here, but I’m picturing a guy from Tilghman Island in a big honking truck) and left a big dent in the front side panel of my Honda Accord. It was on the passenger side so I didn’t notice it until I got home.

Did that person leave a note on my windshield? Of course not!  My car is only two years old and already had major body work because it was attacked by a deer last December 23rd on my home from the last performance of The Santa Diaries. That was mostly covered by insurance, but since there isn’t any other insurance company to go after with this claim, my rates will get jacked.

At least that’s what USAA told me when I asked why they raised my rates last year. All because I had a windshield replaced on my previous car. My USAA car insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacements so I paid out of pocket. Apparently Safelite sent in a claim and got paid twice. I never knew that until I got the notice of the rate hike. When I called the insurance company to find out why my rates had been raised I was told it was because there was nobody to go after when a stone breaks your windshield. Duh! Isn’t that why you have insurance. For accidents!  I was starting to feel like a Liberty Mutual ad so I hung up.

Since there’s nobody to go after in this instance, I figure my rates will get raised if I put in a claim. Mullikens in Easton told me $845 to fix the fender damage. $845. And that’s no new parts, just taking the old stuff off, pulling out the dent, repainting. Okay, I can see maybe how they get to $845. I know they are in business to make a profit, but seriously, I’m going to have to think about whether I’m going to have it repaired or not. It’s on the other side of the car so I don’t see it much.

However, I’m putting out a universal curse on parking lot people who damage other people’s cars and don’t leave their contact information. You ought to be ashamed.

Update two years later: I did get the car fixed. It’s as good as new, but just reading this makes me mad all over again. I have to remind myself that most people are responsible – just not the one who damaged my car.