As soon as you walk in the front door there is a shoe kicked off to the left. After that there is another shoe, then a trail of clothes leading directly to the bedroom. The pillows are a mess and some even lay banished on the floor. The blankets are tangled and hanging haphazardly off of the bed. You know the scene now, right? Giggity.
Ok, I’m kidding about the giggity part.
If I had told you what the scene looked like a few moments ago it would have included a girl sleeping mouth-first on her pillow, her mascara smeared. Her long back-combed hair is sticking up and out at impossible angles. She’s wearing old jogging shorts and a ratty t-shirt and is cuddling with a stuffed gryphon hatchling she calls Henry.
That, my friends is what Confidence Girl looks like when she sleeps. It’s pretty much the unsexiest thing in the world, but damn did that girl go to bed happy!
No seriously, there was no giggity.
Confidence Girl is not the kind of girl.
Well… usually she’s not that kind of girl.
So who is Confidence Girl?
Well, you know how when you walk into a room full of people your heart stops beating and you get the overwhelming urge to run out the door? Yeah, man, I effing hate that feeling too. I become sure that every person in the bar is looking at me and judging me – for my shirt, my hair, my waist line, my jeans, my purse, shoes, necklace, earrings, slightly curved toes... well, you get the point.
Understandably so, being afflicted with this overwhelming anxiety every time you walk into a place is not a good way to meet new people or have very much fun.
Or breathe normally when walking down a busy street.
Confidence is a funny thing. One day I’ll be full of confidence and I’ll be sure that I can do anything. The next day I’ll be sure that everything I do is wrong and that everyone knows it. It amazes me how sometimes my self-consciousness can be such a handicap.
In 99.999% of the cases where my confidence is lacking, it will be as a result of negative self-talk. I tell myself the world is against me and therefore I act in a way which makes the world be against me. My self-conscious thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecy.
In order to get around my anxiety, I decided that I just need to STOP second guessing everything I do.
I need to stop reprimanding myself for those silly little things I do that almost no one notices and even fewer people remember.
That’s where Confidence Girl comes in.
When I know I’m going to be going into an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation – one that is highly likely to trigger my anxiety – I give myself a pep talk. Before I even leave my house, I forgive myself for the mistakes I’m going to make (because I know I will make them but since I’m already forgiven I’m not allowed to stew and berate myself for those things). I admit right away that I am not perfect so I’m not trying to live up to that standard the whole time.
The next thing I do is tell myself that everyone I talk to is going to love me.
Gods - even writing this now, it all sounds so cheesy. But it works every time.
I tell myself that my skin is thick and that I won’t let the sideways stares or the eyes scanning the size of my ass keep me from being absolutely fucking fabulous.
I won’t misinterpret the laughter at that corner table as laughter about me and will recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around me and those people were just laughing at something else entirely. I won’t let my paranoia get the best of me and automatically see everyone I don’t know as an enemy or a person whose sole mission is to ruin my time.
My idea for Confidence Girl (who has most certainly cornered the market on lame superhero names) came this summer when I started hanging out with my Wild Girls – these gorgeous party girls who are fun, sweet and incredibly inclusive yet frequent all of the “cool kid” places I would have never felt secure going to before. When I realized that I was denying myself new friends, who were quite literally begging me to be friends with them, I realized that I was holding myself back.
The first night I hung out with them, as I got ready I began telling myself that no matter what the night held in store, I would go along for the ride. I told myself that I would pretend every person I talked to was already my best friend and I therefore had no reason to worry about anything.
And it worked.
From then on, whenever I know I’m going to be in a place where I would normally feel vulnerable in some way, I try to address those concerns before I’m even in the situation so that the girl who goes out into the world is the very best version of me I can present.
That girl is Confidence Girl – not exactly an alternate persona – just me stripped of my anxiety and determined not to be held back because of fear. Confidence Girl doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and isn’t ashamed of anything she does. I don’t allow myself to second guess anything once the time has passed either – what happens with Confidence Girl stays with Confidence Girl.
Confidence Girl is fun, intelligent, witty, brave, tough, a little bitchy (but only when she needs to be) and even just a little bit of a man-eater.
I owe her a lot.
Have any tricks that you use to overcome your own anxiety?