Thursday, November 18, 2010
Confidence and its adversary insecurity have been coming up in conversation and in my mind a lot lately. The ideas of confidence and insecurity are so multifaceted. We could peel the layers back for days and not even tap the surface. I have confidence and insecurity in the same areas. My confidence in certain things sways from day to day. I am, overall, a very confident person, but everyone has their weaknesses and their moments when they are weaker or more insecure than others.
I go to a very prestigious women's college. I am surrounded by some of the smartest women in the nation, but the insecurity permeates. During finals, around midterms, you can cut the insecurity with a butter knife. During class discussions, I always make sure my thoughts are well organized before diving in. But, even with my thoughts gathered tightly, when I start making my point, my cheeks turn a slight shade rosier. I rarely ever feel stupid after speaking. But, when I'm in it, I get flush and feel insecure in my ability to deliver my point clearly. Once it's out of my head and out of my mouth, I hold my head a little higher and my confidence level increases with every assertion of my reason and ideas. After 2 years of sweaty palms and brief moments of insecurity, I have built a level of confidence I never thought I would attain. Logic is like antibodies for insecurity.
When I am about to meet a man for the first time, I get really nervous. This doesn't change from date to date. Every time I meet a new man, I still get jitters. I don't think there is an antibody for this, because I don't really think it's insecurity. It's more just a fear of the unknown. I am generally just as worried that I won't like them as I am that they won't like me. It does, however, change over time with one man. After I have gotten to know a man a bit better, I can relax and be my normal charming self.
When I meet new friends, I am secure right off the bat. When I meet one on one with professors, classmates and colleagues to discuss ideas, I am generally cool as a clam. If there are no expectations, I can be charming. I can relay my thoughts with clarity. I can be witty and I can be relaxed. I can engage in conversations ranging from art to politics to cars to hip hop with little-to-no trepidation. (I did, however, have to double check my spelling of trepidation.) But, some days, I just don't want to interact with anyone. I hate having a pimple. Some days I feel like my words just won't express my point of view. These are called bad days and they don't make me any less secure, overall.
Then, there's the blog. Since I started this blog (4 months ago, today), I have felt like I have my hand raised in class. This has been four months of trying to articulate my thoughts before the class. The only difference is, in the class, the judgment is mostly in my mind. Here, I get texts, emails and sideways glances. The negative feedback comes far less than the positive. I get more women and men saying they love the blog than I get people passing judgment, but the negative feedback rings so much louder.
Almost as soon as I started typing this post, I got a text from a man expressing less than favorable views regarding the blog and my active role in the stories. He suggested that I not make the blog about me. Taking his suggestion would make my life far less complicated. This blog has turned my life upside down in ways. I could have made it an advice blog. I could have kept my personal stories out of it. The trouble is, I don't give advice. And ... this is a blog about my life. So, I guess I could have just not made a blog at all. Or I could have kept it anonymous. I could have said ... Look this is life. Don't be ashamed, but I am. So, I'm not going to tell my story. But, I will sit back and tell you what I think you should do.
Trouble with that is, I started the blog because I didn't know what the hell I was doing with my life. I was seeking relationships with the first guy I could so that I could avoid what comes when you are alone. And even though I share my bed occasionally, I am alone. And I am learning me and ironing out the kinks. In case you haven't noticed, I am a wreck in the love/relationship category. But, after flushing out some reasoned ideas on dating, I am building my antibodies and my confidence is growing. But, it's only by telling my story that I am building my immunity. It's only by flushing out the heartbreak and the ego jolts and confessing my love of sex, that I have been able to start dropping my walls and building my confidence. I am no role model. I don't claim to be. I am not even sure how you heard about this blog. Odds are good you got it from some chain that started with one of my good friends. Because, that's who this blog was started for. I started it for me and my friends. Who knew the internet was all over the world? So, with my shaking hand raised and my face flush, my classroom has grown from 4 friends in Houston to an unknown amount of friends in Australia, Japan, Finland, England, and even Indonesia. (That's right Indonesia ... I have Adsense and I see ya peepin' the page.)
So, my confidence is growing. It's just hard to see, because I'm still talking in front of the class. I haven't had that moment to sit back and say ... "Oh, now it all makes sense. That's why I raised my hand." When I first started going to the gym, I was intimidated by all the 'gym people.' They all knew how to use the equipment and their push-ups looked all perfect and they could see my less than tight arms. But now, I am strong. I know how to use the equipment and I am kind of a beast with my push-ups. I can only hope I get the same results from this exercise. I hope my growth brings no one pain and that I come out a better person on the other side. Thanks for reading.