For as long as I have known her (eight years), my friend Lori has had something that she calls a "Self-Esteem Box."
This box is filled with positive letters and greeting cards and awards and things she wrote that have been published. When she is feeling down, she opens her Self-Esteem Box and it reminds her that she is talented and smart and should feel good about herself.
While I never had my own Self-Esteem box, I do have a portfolio that I keep for when I go on job interviews (and in my time, I have been on roughly seventy-four thousand job interviews)...articles I have written (including the full-page story about John F. Kennedy, Jr. that I wrote after he died that was published in the Teen Section of The Asbury Park Press...it was called the "Whatever" Section. Yup.), the Chicago playbill with my name next to "Press Intern" that I had been so excited to first see, the interview with Party of Five star Jeremy London (he was so nice to me!) that I did when I was 18 for Teen People magazine, and the program from the Frank Sinatra conference that I presented at when I was 16.
(Sometimes I worry that I did all the exciting things I will ever do before I turned 20...)
I think many people will go through this portfolio and think, "Wow. This chick has done quite a bit!" I even say that myself when I look through it after I haven't in a while.
Yesterday was a very rough day.
I cried a lot. (However, I also have a new puppy, who sat on my lap and kept licking the tears on my face. A new puppy really really helps matters.)
I felt physically ill, and could hardly see straight.
I talked to several close friends or relatives, just to be reassured and told that I was loved and that I was going to be okay.
I didn't fall asleep until about 6 AM, and then only slept for about three hours.
My self-esteem, at the moment, is down.
So, I decided to put together my own Self-Esteem box.
I dragged out my portfolio and took the papers out of the plastics, scanned and copied things, and spent an hour going through pictures and letters.
Among the things in my Self-Esteem box are photos of myself giving a speech at my sister's wedding back in September, and ones of people reacting to it. (Even people I had never even met, who didn't even know my sister that well, let alone ME, so the fact that they were so into my speech, says a lot about my speech, if I may say so myself.)
Some background on The Speech:
And here is The Speech:
People laughed, they cried. There are several shots of my sister and brother-in-law, looking up at me and cracking up...one of my cousin, leaning forward and holding her stomach in laughter, some of completely random people looking touched and amused.
Those pictures make me feel pretty good!
I am funny.
I am a good writer.
I am an excellent public speaker. Excellent!
(Okay, give me a break, this is about boosting my self-esteem right now, remember?)
I found some photographs from my Frank Sinatra experience. (If you are not familiar with the story...http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/06/there-is-surefire-way.html)
In these photos, I am being interviewed by Access Hollywood and in another, Frank Sinatra's daughter, Tina Sinatra, is hugging me and we are both crying.
(How many people can say they have that? Seriously!)
I watched the recording of the staged reading of Margot the Musical: Diary of the Other Young Girl , the show Lori and I wrote together which was performed by the wonderful students of William Paterson University two weeks ago.
(Didn't hear about that show? Here you go...http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/10/whats-so-funny-about-anne-frank.html)
My mom couldn't make the reading, so we watched it together, and I was reminded how much people LAUGHED at our show, and that it was really quite funny and touching. We created something that made an impact on a bunch of people, and it just might be the beginning for it. That is something to feel very good about.
I reread the column I had posted over the summer on the website Dare to be Fabulous. http://www.daretobefabulous.com/guestcolumn2/2007_08_01_archive.html
I am still not feeling quite well today, and I'm a bundle of nerves over what is going to happen next.
However, going through all of these things at once...things that reminded me how I ended up a lead story on Access Hollywood when I was a junior in high school...my writing which landed me a spot reporting for Teen People magazine when I was a freshman in college...the way I was able to add something special to my older sister's very special day...the show my friend and I created that was received so well.
There is absolutely no reason why things have to end here.
If all this happened in just the FIRST 25 years of my life, I have no reason to be nothing but absolutely excited and anticipating what is in store for me in the future.
Little Women, ala Winona Ryder and Claire Danes, is one of my favorite movies. When I first saw it, when I wasn't bawling over Beth getting her piano, I truly connected with Jo...the writer...crazy sensitive...hates change. (And she considered her hair her one great beauty, as do I.)
There's a scene when Marmee (played by Susan Sarandon) tells Jo, "You have so many extraordinary gifts...how can you expect to live an ordinary life?" Maybe I can keep telling myself that. Maybe things aren't SUPPOSED to run so smoothly for me...with a job/relationship/life that just falls into (average) place.
I know it's really going to be okay...I'm just not feeling so great right now.
Things will turn around eventually...
How could they not for the "Teen Who Touched Frank Sinatra's Heart", after all?