Through the years I have fully appreciated the part that confidence has played in my life’s unfolding. While I struggled with weight from a young age, my insecurity seemingly ruled (at least inwardly), but every now and then unshakable confidence took the lead. I don’t know from what inner spring this confidence would bubble over, but as surely as Old Faithful’s blast, it made regular appearances, shaping the person I knew I was meant to be.
I was never one of those girls, for instance, who was so insecure that I wouldn’t try out for a sports team. Every year I diligently tried out for a new sport, though, every year I never made the team.
I loved theatre and getting in front of the whole school and reciting memorized lines. I even landed a roll as the villain in our senior play.
I also never had much of a problem going after a guy even if the guy in question was in a popularity class far from my own. I still pursued him with all the confidence of a Kelly Kapowski when in reality I wore hand me down over-sized t-shirts from my neighbor. I didn’t know floods meant my pants were too short. And once in dismay over not landing a real boyfriend, I even made one up and named him Kirk, after Captain Kirk, because though I didn’t know who that was at the time, I thought a captain sounded authoritative and other-worldly. And there’s that whole affinity I have for the sea.
Those same sporadic confidence bursts helped me do incredible things that I didn’t know I was capable of later in life: joining the fencing team in college and winning a bronze medal in the women’s championship (because everyone who’s anyone knows that fencing is the shit), or buying a one-way ticket to New York City. Pure confidence, man.
Looking back on times that my confidence lead me to do bold and brazen things, I wonder now why this version of me isn’t apparent all the time.
I was thinking back the other day to a time in my life when the person I truly felt I was deep at my core aligned with what the world saw and it was just after I finished “The Biggest Loser“. I was working at a coffee shop in the town over from my home and I had a boss who never made me cover my tattoo, encouraged me to write blogs when it was slow and take peanut butter coffee home with me—so, best job ever.
It was at this job that I felt I was at my prime, confidence-wise. And, a rather attractive fella started coming into the coffee shop and seemingly flirting with me. I felt so comfortable in my own skin. So at ease making silly quips and not worrying I would sound stupid. So excited to let the world in on the me that my friends and family already knew. It shouldn’t have come as a shock to me when the very muscular, very tall, very handsome man asked me out. While I was working )something I had always fancied should happen to me, but never had).
I was, of course, elated—and shocked—but didn’t hesitate in saying yes. Later at dinner he confessed that my confidence was what drew him in. I had one of those ah-ha moments Oprah is always carrying on about and I made a note to file this away as a very good excuse to maintain my more confident air, which was really just me owning who I was and making no apologies about it.
Somewhere along the uneven and sometimes treacherous terrain that is life, however, I found that I lost the girl in the coffee shop who was comfortable flirting with a dashing man.
It doesn’t sit well with me that the person I like to be, want to be, strive to be and ought to be, only feels comfortable coming out here and there instead of just being. I don’t like that the real me spent most of my life letting those bursts of confidence be a once-in-awhile occurrence when every time I have confidently gone after what I wanted, or embraced who I truly am, it was as if the universe took a bow in my honor congratulating me for noticing something that should be rather obvious.
Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to how those moments of confidence have shaped my life. How they affect me at my core. And the truth is it’s not enough to strive for that air of confidence simply because I enjoy being unafraid and taking risks. As it turns out confidence is absolutely vital to my existence as a happy human being. The confident version of me happens to be my authentic self. So why have I been squelching it?