Dusting Off Doubt by Ren Martinez

We all have moments where our confidence is shaken. Times where we’re embarrassed, mottled with shame and regret as our mistakes are laid before us in perfect clarity. Times when we stare out into the great unknown and our insides knot with fear. It’s human to be fallible, and our faith in ourselves in just as human.

I had such a moment the other day, one that shook me down to where I lived and threaten to pull me out by the roots. In this endless slog toward finding a job, I’ve put my neck out on the chopping block far too many times and had the chopped off edges of my hair to prove it. This wasn’t even for a job; it was a volunteer position. I was confident after the interview, radiating excitement all the way home. That glow shattered the next day when they removed me from consideration after a reference indicated that I wouldn’t be sensitive enough for their mission.

The next few hours were a gray-tinged haze, my stomach roiling with acid and disgust, my eyes burning with shame and tears. That email laid me low, questions dogging my footsteps: Was I even cut out for this line of work? Is this truly my calling? Have I been fooling myself this whole time?

It was days before my confidence had returned, a wounded warrior struggling away from the heat of battle. As I tended those wounds, I remembered myself. I remembered how much I love this work. I remembered that my passion ever since I was a child was to help others like people used to help me. I remembered the support from my family and my friends, the pride on their faces as I recounted my work, as I walked across the stage for the first, then second diploma. It was like sloughing away dead skin and doubts until I felt clean again. Radiant as ever, as if I had never dimmed to begin with.

My confidence will fail me again. I am only human, after all. But, the wonderful thing about being human is that inborn ability to get up, dust oneself off, and keep moving toward the sun.



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