Monday, September 21, 2015


As we move through life, we take little dings to our confidence. Sometimes, the dings are not so little, but are huge losses and/or perceived failures. My divorce really was a huge hit on my self confidence. For so many years, my sense of identity was wrapped up in doing whatever I needed to do for my family. Jobs I said yes to and those I said no to, jobs I left, side work I took (i.e. many years of grant reviewing and teaching during the summer), ect ect. And, a lot of sacrifices that are too personal to discuss here. Being "trained" within the system of hegemonic masculinity, I had learned that part of being a man was to be heroic; I wanted to be a hero for my family, and for many years, I think they viewed me that way. At least that is my story, and I am sticking to it!

Well, that all went to #(#*%&(#, and I was left with profound sense of having failed. I had failed, I believed, at the most important thing a man could do. I was also dumped, or as I would say it, I was "thrown away." All of a sudden, all of my accomplishments meant nothing. Nothing. Yuck!

Well, time, and a whole lot of  personal writing has allowed me to regain a good deal of my confidence. I no longer view myself as having failed.  In life, there is often a large gap between actions and outcomes; I feel proud of my sacrifices. I am starting to feel good about myself again, as a man, as a lover, a friend, a person, and now, again, as a writing/scholar. I truly did my best.

This is a lot of self disclosure. Its not like this blog has been a dry, dispassionate space where I only dispense cold advice on how to write and publish, but still, this may be a bit much. Still, part of how I wish to live is with authenticity and vigor; why else do I write autoethnography and poetic inquiry!!

And as with most of my posts, I try to take it back to writing, of course ;). You will have your own events that leave you feeling unsteady, shaken, vulnerable, and unsure.  Even if your shaken confidence does not stem from your academic work, it will most likely impact it.  Our self doubts and self downing can often permeate across the various domains of our lives. Certainly this has been the case for me. If this is true for you, stop and reflect upon what you need to do to work back toward a more confident, strengths-based, dare I say evidenced-based view of yourself.

We all are, or at least can be, heroes of our own narratives. Our stories may not be grand, but even the most simple of lives can be heroic. Yes, heroic.

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