Confidence. It’s something that so many people lack these days, but it’s such an important trait to have.
I’m not sure why so many teenagers lack this trait, but I know it’s something that can be taken and put into practice overnight. No — in the moment. That’s how it happened for me.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t unconfident but neither was I fully confident in myself. I just sort of meandered through my days. I had more confidence in the beginning of the seventh grade, which I find hilarious because that was probably the most awkward time of my life. I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I knew nothing about fashion. (not that I know much now, at 29 years old) I’d never tried applying makeup. My fingernails were chewed to their base and my posture was — and still is — pretty horrible.
All these things would kind of point in the awkward-kid-no-self-confidence direction. Nope. I was loud, I thought I was funny, I thought I could flirt, I thought I could be “hot.” And all before I even hit the puberty.
Oh lordy, was that fun! Please feel the sarcasm here.
Now, for me, when the changes happened, my confidence came to a halt. Up until then, the boy I had a crush on never noticed me. None of the boys at school noticed me. Up until then, I could stare and dream away like Myrtle after Potter. Until that fateful time in my life when womanhood happened. Boys noticed me. The boy I was crushing on noticed me. None of this attention was positive, though. I started realizing I wasn’t like the other girls when the boys would fake-flirt and then laugh at me about it. It was horrible. The boy I liked? Well, he was a total jerk, but I won’t go into that.
My confidence dropped for the next 3 years. I put myself down all the time. We moved a lot, so I stopped caring about making friends, knowing I’d lose contact with them anyway when we moved again. I had two or three that I kept close, but they were at different schools.
When we moved in the middle of the 10th grade, things changed. I was going to be the “new kid” again, showing up in the middle of the year. No friends. No one would know who I was, so I was going to make myself whoever I wanted to be. They wouldn’t know any different than how I presented myself that first day in school…so I would do something that would throw them off guard.
I gathered all of my black clothes before I started at that school. I got a pair of black boots that made my insanely tall. The Matrix was pretty popular at the time, so I had a black, floor-length duster that I thought made me look like the coolest person since Trinity herself. I had super-long hair that I threw up into a crazy, spunky mess and drew on some thick lines of black eyeliner. I would throw on my collection of fantasy-inspired jewelry — dragons, swords, gryphon claws and orbs. I looked like some mix between a goth and a gypsy. I walked into that first class with long strides and a grin like the Chesire Cat. Dangit, I was tall, I was unknown…I was a NOVELTY…and I was soon referred to as “that mystical girl.” She’s like a wisp wandering the halls. <— actual words — heard it with my own ears 😂
I wasn’t what most would call the average girl, nor was I super attractive compared to the other girls who wore pastel, froofy sweaters, skirts, and sandals with bling. But good god, I was confident, and that year, I could say I made friends with the entire high school. No one picked on me. No one talked me down. Not at school, at least. It wasn’t because they thought I was cool, but because of my confidence. I was happy with myself and people could see that.
When you get down to it, everyone wants to be happy with themselves. Everyone wants to feel their place in the world, but sometimes, you have to find that “zone” and force yourself in there. Once you’re there, you emit a confidence you probably didn’t know you had, because you’re happy and comfortable with you.
It’s not as big a risk as you may think and in the end, it’s worth it.