Tag Archives: emotional child abuse

Self Esteem Reclaimed


(This is not me, I’m a boy.)

On February 9, 1964 I sat in front of the family’s black and white Philco TV and watched the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.

A seismic shift took place in my psyche and right then and there I abandoned my childish fantasy of becoming a professional baseball player and rededicated my life to rock stardom.

Several weeks later my older brothers returned home from college for a weekend and presented me with my first guitar. They’d paid the owner $7 and a six-pack of Old Milwaukee beer and he undoubtedly got the better part of the deal. If that guitar had been a car it would have been up on blocks in the front yard of a trailer plot in rural Mississippi.

beatles chordsBut with the help of Mel Bay and a Beatles songbook I quickly learned all the major and minor guitar chords and was able to play and sing “I Shoulda Known Better” over the phone to Carol and Ann. I was far too timid to sing in front of my parents but I did once proudly strum the chords for a Beatle’s tune for them during cocktail hour. When I finished they looked quizzically at one another, offered a half-hearted compliment and returned to their martinis.


In my household music was for listening, not playing.

Years later I traded my scuba tank and regulator to my brother for a high-end Polaroid camera and a bunch of film. He worked for the company so I suspect in monetary terms he was out little or nothing. But I loved that camera and the images I could make with it.

Nikon_F_Photomic_FTn-2714While a sophomore in college my father presented me with a $1000 life insurance policy my mother had taken out on me in the early 50’s, paying the agent 25 cents a week until it was paid in full. I wasted no time redeeming it for its cash value of $370 and purchasing a 1971 Nikon F camera that became my constant companion and best friend for the remainder of my college career; I still own it, by the way.

In each of these incidents, and many more like them,…

I abandoned something I thought was meaningful to me for something that allowed me to create.

I learned a couple of things: first, I was a pretty good creator. And second, when I was creating I was happier than when I was not. But despite these two pretty apparent clues as to how I should go about making a living, creativity did not enter into the equation; at least not yet.

For whatever reasons I abandoned my calling.

Lack of confidence, shattered self esteem, the desperate need for love and admiration were all contributors to my betrayal of my “inner nature”. And to the extent that I lived those lies my happiness and fulfillment suffered and my inner voices cried out for recognition. This site, and “Conversations with Katherine”, the book that servers as its foundation, are the manifestations of those cries and the beginning of my life as it was meant to be lived. What changed?

My Self Esteem Began to Return to Me.

I started writing. I began by writing words, then sentences, then paragraphs. I wrote a short story, began keeping a journal and wrote a book about watching my father die of lung cancer. I did not try to make things happen. I just wrote with the faith that the right word would come to me at the right time—and it always did.

kat-rud-resizeI began writing “Conversations with Katherine”, the story of my personal growth journey, in earnest. I started it 14 years earlier and decided it was time to finish it. I had no idea where the story would lead me or how it would end. But I had faith that it would unfold in a way that would benefit both me and the audience I envisioned.

Almost serendipitously, events began taking place that served as steps to the next necessary insight or lesson in my trek. New doors opened, old ones closed. What I found behind those doors was often painful but always the pain brought wisdom. And then one day, with no warning whatsoever, the wall that stood between me and my destiny crumbled. That one thing that had prevented me from doing what I knew I must do was gone. You’ll find what it was in chapter 16.

My expertise on the topics presented here was not acquired in the theoretical environs of the classroom. Nor did I learn them solely while reading Napoleon Hill in the comfort of my easy chair. Rather, I learned them by experiencing them.

  • I know the power of discovering and changing debilitating attitudes because I’ve done it and seen the dramatic effects.
  • I know the therapeutic value of surrendering your hatred and finally forgiving those who have harmed you.
  • I know how it feels to once again embrace the self esteem that comforts you and propels you in the direction of your dreams.

And I’m here to share what I’ve learned with you; I hope you find that my journey provides direction for your own.

Jerry Grinkmeyer