Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable." ~Wendy Wasserstein
Hi. My name is Heather and I only play confident on the Internet.
Or so I thought. I didn’t even find myself all that good at it until a friend (male, bearded, cute) informed me of my apparent sexiness. Even writing that out makes me shudder because I am nothing if not dorky with gray hair and a need for retinol infused face cream. Anyway, said male told me that it was my confidence that makes me sexy. In fact, he did this thing that many adults are wont to do where he noted that a woman isn’t just her looks but the entire package. Such as a woman who will take charge and become positively talkative when it comes to political advocacy. I grinned and he noted my smile. The smile I once hated because my cheeks overwhelm the rest of my face. There is no subtlety in my smile but it takes up the entire upper half of my body. I thought I had shrugged off the whole exchange and it had been long forgotten until I was reminded by yet another friend that I don’t seem to be the shy, quiet type that I claim to be. And yet…I am.
The truth is that I have become excellent at being faux-confident. I am good at swiping on some lip gloss and putting on a front, a cover which started out of necessity and eventually became habit. It doesn’t matter why but it does matter how I have maintained my ability to smile even when the anxiety is creeping up from my stomach to my throat. I have a tendency to walk in and make a beeline to those with whom I need to have a conversation. I have a firm grip when I shake hands but if I know you, you will receive a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Years of working the room in politics have turned me into a woman who knows that to be at the only young, black, woman at a table I need to turn the confidence - the damn straight I deserve to be here with a grin - up to 11.
My strong, feminist, progressive sensibilities should be offended by the things I have written: having a male reinforce the idea of confidence being sexy or that, at times, to be take seriously in politics, a female might need to stand up straight and walk in as if she owns the joint. I smile. A lot. Only because I quickly learned that others are making note of my demeanor and if I don’t seem OK then I will be inquired about. Nothing ramps up my anxiety like the feeling of being talked about. I want for others to know that it’s entirely possible - sometimes necessary - to throw your head back in laughter while feeling all torn up inside. A concept that has only taken me three decades to grasp.
Tomorrow I am going to see three young girls, the daughters of my dear friends. These girls LOVE me and there have been moments when they are upset small people because they didn’t get to spend time with me. Even though these aren’t my children, I feel a responsibility there, just as I feel the responsibility not to swear or snark because it’s not just the adults watching me but children as well. I do worry about what others think. Another lesson over the last three decades: it often takes confidence not to do things just for myself but for others in my life who are watching me and, at times, take note of my behavior. t isn’t just about me. Other people can see me and take note. Despite being a disaster inside and feeling the need to hide myself away. I am a woman who excels at exuding confidence - even in the most difficult times.
And that makes me hold my head up just a little bit higher.
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