For my entire life I’ve been the person who would politely deny every comment given to me. I was painfully shy because the second I said anything someone was always there to tell me to be quiet.
Everyone encounters this but traditionally women are usually hit harder by this. Hey, I was raised Catholic. It’s practically built into the curriculum.
I remember the first year of Intervention. I walked into the large panel room and about 100-200 people erupted into applause. I had done it. I had made an event that no one thought would work into something that everyone there loved – both the attendees and the staff. Someone called out for everyone to applaud me. The sound was thunderous.
I made an awkward face, ducked my head, and slinked out of the room as if I had just committed the worst failure of my life.
Sometime later in the year I broke down into tears and wailed for hours non-stop. Hours. I was inconsolable. Why? Because I was convinced that I was a loser. All Harknell could do was hold me until I finally had no energy left to make another anguished squeak. My entire torso hurt for days.
Against opposition and personal financial hardship and everything else – we still made it happen again. And again. Most events don’t get more than 1 year. This year is our 5th anniversary. We are already planning Intervention 6 and I just started my second event – (Re)Generation Who: The Doctor Who Convention for Every Generation.
For my entire life I’ve been told to minimize my accomplishments. That’s why I still walk around feeling like a loser. I know it’s wildly insane, but there it is.
I have been trained to set goals that make no sense and always equal failure because I never accept the success. It’s impolite. Of course I was also trained to never accept a compliment and always minimize anything that I do.
This is over.
I am not doing it anymore.
At this point in my life I would rather be up front with everyone about who I am and what I do than take one more step toward belittling myself at my own expense. It’s old.
I’ve beaten myself until bloody. I’ve been harder on myself than any person has a right to ever be to anyone. I’ve literally injured myself and pushed myself into debilitating depression over it.
I am going to relax and be a confident, successful business owner. This means that inevitably people will come out of the woodwork trying to cut me down. Women aren’t supposed to be confident or accomplished. I can actually tell you that the first day I tried this it happened within hours.
I didn’t give a fuck.
My response is simple – tough shit. I refuse to beat myself up anymore. I will not let anyone convince me otherwise. I am going to try and take compliments correctly and own the success that I have earned.
Not bought. Not given. EARNED.
It’s about being able to say, “I did this. I’m proud of it. Thank you.”
That’s hard for me.