To say that I lack self-confidence is probably an understatement. I have severe doubts about my abilities in most things. People initially mistake it for some sort of sneakiness, like the kid who claims he never studied, yet does so well in his exam. But now, to people close to me, this self-doubt is well-known, and greeted with shrugging of shoulders, rolling of eyes, and a general shaking of the head.
The same goes for my writing. I am continuously chipping away at the tiny hill of confidence I have built up with my successes, and there is always a sense of disbelief, almost detachment, when my writing clicks somehow.
Yesterday, I received my first prize for the Unisun Reliance Time-out short story contest. I also got to meet Shashi Deshpande, an author whose writing I immensely respect. As I stood listening to her praising my story (she was one of the judges), I was (still am) in a state of disbelief. One part of me was listening attentively, but the other part kept nudging me awake, insisting this simply could not be reality. One part of me tried to gather up her words like precious jewels, to savor the treasure later; the other part laughed at my foolish attempt, even as the words floated off, dissolving and disappearing into the invisible.
It will take me a very long time (probably my lifetime) to accept that I’m probably not as bad as I think I am, and that I probably deserve my successes in some way. I guess till then, I will continue my usual one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance on my self confidence. At least that feels real enough!